- Blair Angulo, Reporter, WeAreSC.com
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LOS ANGELES -- Julian Harrell still hasn't gotten over Loyola's loss to Mater Dei in the CIF-Southern Section semifinals. He says he thinks about the 10-point lead his team let slip away in the final 10 minutes against the state's top-ranked team and eventual Division 1AA champion.
It happened over a week ago, but the defeat still stings. Loyola used it as motivation Wednesday night, beating Crenshaw 103-91 before a capacity crowd in the first round of the Southern California Regionals.
"I'm not over the loss, to be honest," said Harrell, who scored a team-high 25 points. "I'm still trying to swallow that loss. ... That's in the past, but we do want another shot at [Mater Dei]."
Fourth-seeded Loyola (25-5) will face Etiwanda in the second round Saturday night and, with a win, will likely get another crack at the top-seeded Monarchs in the regional semifinals.
Sharpshooter Jacob Hazzard had 22 points, including four 3-pointers, for the Cubs. Senior Khaliq Bedart-Ghani added 16 and an electrifying breakaway dunk. Super sophomore point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright had 12 points and 10 assists.
Loyola held a 51-40 lead following an up-and-down, fast-paced first half. Crenshaw had twice fallen behind by double figures but responded with runs, including a 9-0 spurt midway through the second quarter. The Cubs answered with a 17-4 run, highlighted by a pair of dagger 3-pointers from role player Trey Mason.
Crenshaw (24-6), which lost to eventual City Section Division I champion Woodland Hills Taft in the semifinals, came back, though. The Cougars closed to within five with less than five minutes remaining, but could never get over the hump.
Senior guard Brandon Baker was masterful for Crenshaw, scoring 45 points against some of his childhood friends.
"I wasn't about to go out the easy way," Baker said.
Teammate Andre Edwards, who is expected to be one of the City Section's top seniors next season, had 29 points before succumbing to leg cramps in the fourth quarter.
"A tough team like this is going to make runs," Jackson-Cartwright said. "They were scrappy, they had a lot of juniors and seniors with experience. We knew that no matter how much we got up, they were going to make runs. We kept going."
Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPN Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter.