THOUSAND OAKS -- Who says the madness doesn’t start until March?
The Thousand Oaks boys' basketball team sent its fans into a frenzy Friday night in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs.
Thousand Oaks eliminated eighth-seeded Riverside Poly, 54-38, to reach the semifinals of the Division 2AA playoffs. The 15th-seeded Lancers knocked out top-seeded Ocean View on Tuesday.
When asked if he expected his team to make it this far in the playoffs, Thousand Oaks coach Richard Endres said, “No.”
“Primarily because we’re all juniors,” Endres said. “We struggled with some maturity issues. To be honest, I am surprised.”
All five starters from Thousand Oaks are juniors. Only one of them scored in double figures against Riverside Poly. Jacob Lachina led the Lancers with 11 points, all in the second half.
He sparked a third-quarter surge that saw Thousand Oaks turn a one-point, halftime deficit into a six-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter.
Lachina scored six points in the third quarter, but the second half didn’t start quite the way Endres wanted. Thousand Oaks committed three fouls in the first 45 seconds giving Endres cause for concern.
“I was a little worried,” Endres said. “The plan was to get more physical, not just hack fouls. We put more pressure on them.”
The pressure turned into free throws. Lachina was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the third quarter and a perfect 6-for-6 in the game. He gave Thousand Oaks a 23-22 lead with a pair of free throws with 3:38 to play in the third quarter.
The Lancers (21-8) started to pull away in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. Lachina, Tanner Fanjoy and Cody Anderson hit consecutive 3-pointers to give Thousand Oaks a 15-point lead with 5:01 to play in the game.
Thousand Oaks outscored Riverside Poly (21-9), 25-15, in the fourth quarter.
Poly’s Jeff Gonzalez led all scorers with 18 points. He was the only player from Poly to score in double figures.