SIMI STOPPED

Claremont succeeded in shutting down Villepigue (10 points) for muchof the game and Simi Valley went cold from the perimeter as the Wolfpack scored a 64 46 win over the Pioneers in a Southern Section Division I A second round gameat Simi Valley.Simi Valley (20 9), section finalists a year ago but a wild card team this postseason, had already won two games behind the strong inside play of Villepigue, and a glance at the starting lineups suggested that the smaller Wolfpack were in trouble.Villepigue had totaled 10 points early in the second quarter, but after the Wolfpack went to double coverage, with two players sandwiching Villepigue under the basket, his production stopped, and he got off only two shots the rest of the game.The deeper you go into the playoffs, the tougher it gets,” Simi Valley coach Christian Aurand said. They shut down the passing lanes and made it difficult for us to get him the ball.”Claremont was able to dedicate two defenders to Villepigue because the rest of the Pioneers went stone cold from the perimeter. Facing a 2 3zone, Simi Valley was frustrated by its inability to get the ball in to Villepigue, and often forced up unwise shots.Had the Pioneers been able to knock down some outside shots, Claremont coach Mike Bateman admitted that the Wolfpack (21 7) could not have focused so much on Villepigue.We wanted somebody else to beat us besides (Villepigue),” Batemansaid. We were giving them open looks at the basket, but they just couldn’t get very many to go.”Meanwhile, Claremont couldn’t miss, and the Wolfpack were never seriously threatened after taking a 14 2 lead in the first four minutes of the game. The Wolfpack had made just 4 of 25 attempts from 3 point range in a first round victory over Sunny Hills.We are one of the best shooting teams in CIF,” Bateman said, and I had a feeling we were going to break out in this game.”Claremont forward Micah Lombard dominated the opening minutes and scored 12 points during the initial burst. Only foul trouble prevented Lombard from scoring more than 16 points.But the Wolfpack had plenty of other scoring options, particularly guards Sean Terrell (19 points) and Kevyn White (12 points), two small, tremendously athletic seniors who were able to pull up from anywhere on the court and make jump shots in the first half.The Pioneers got back into the game with a 7 0 run to start the second quarter to make the score 21 16, but Simi would get no closer.Claremont took a 29 21 halftime lead, opened the margin to 12 pointsmidway through the third quarter and never lost their double digit lead.I thought we rebounded well in the second quarter, but we were always playing catchup,” Aurand said. For whatever reason, we just didn’t start well. Maybe we thought being at home would give us a lift at thestart of the game, but it didn’t happen.”

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