NCS boys basketball: Dream season ends for Elsie Allen

Elsie Allen's Bradley Greiner, right, tries to dribble past  Miramonte's Ryan Anderson during their game in Santa Rosa on Tuesday, February 24, 2015.   (Christopher Chung / The Press Democrat)

Elsie Allen’s Bradley Greiner, right, tries to dribble past Miramonte’s Ryan Anderson during their game in Santa Rosa on Tuesday, February 24, 2015. (Christopher Chung / The Press Democrat)

By LORI CARTER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Elsie Allen’s record-setting season came to a disappointing end Tuesday night with a
 58-41 defeat at the hands of higher-ranked Miramonte in the first-round of the boys North Coast Section playoffs.

Senior Jalen Busby, the Lobos’ MVP, scored a game-high 20 points, 15 in the first half.

He and fellow senior Joe Hoeup, who returned to play last month after breaking his ankle in the first scrimmage of the season, accounted for 30 of the team’s 41 points.

Seventh-seeded Miramonte, of Orinda, now advances to face second seed Moreau Catholic on Friday. Elsie Allen was the 10th seed in Division 3.

After a rough start for both teams — the first basket wasn’t scored until three minutes into the game — Miramonte edged into a 14-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Busby scored eight points in the second quarter and the Lobos’ defense held Miramonte to eight to bring Elsie Allen to within two at the half, 22-20.

But the Matadors came out more settled in the third quarter and Elsie Allen’s shooting percentage dived, allowing Miramonte to pull ahead.

Elsie Allen led 31-30 with 3:35 left in the third quarter, but Miramonte outscored the Lobos 11-2 in the next six minutes to pull ahead 45-33 with five minutes left in the game.

Lobos coach Madison Lott said Elsie Allen’s defense weakened late in the third quarter.

“They were just knocking down shot after shot,” he said.

Miramonte coach Drew McDonald said Elsie Allen may have had some nerves being in an important playoff game.

“I’m not sure we got them on their best night,” he said. “They’ve shot very well all season. I think they are a better club than they showed tonight.”

Elsie Allen, established in southwest Santa Rosa in 1994, won the Sonoma County League regular season with a program record 11-1, 22-6 overall.

With team leader Hoeup out for most of the year, Busby stepped up and became the leader. Busby set a school record with a 42-point performance in a win over Piner earlier this month.

But the team managed just 11 points in the third quarter with several crucial missed shots.

“It was bad, mostly later in the third quarter,” Lott said. “The speed of their game wore us down.”

Miramonte began its six-minute run with a Charlie Hocking lay-up off a quick inbound pass to take a 32-31 lead with just under three minutes left in the third. A Ryan Anderson pass to Hocking made it 34-31.

A minute later, Busby was called for traveling as he drove into traffic on the right side, a call Lott argued should have been a foul on Miramonte, whose post jammed up Busby under the basket, forcing the misstep.

Hoeup finished with 10 points, Erik DeLeon had 6, Carlos Bahena 3 and Marcus Jenkins 2.

Jake Linares led Miramonte with 14 while Eddy Ionescu added 11.

After the game, Lott hugged Busby and Hoeup, patting each on the back. He said he was disappointed in the result, but pleased to have coached two solid young men.

“I’ve coached Joe since he was a freshman and Jalen since he was a sophomore,” he said. “I’ve been so fortunate to coach some real quality kids. I’ve watched these guys grow up so much.

“They’re such humble kids. I could never ask for better kids.”

You can reach Lori A. Carter at 521-5470 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @loriacarter.