Los Angeles Preps: Sam Borst-Smith
February, 18, 2011
By Blair Angulo | ESPNLosAngeles.com
ROWLAND HEIGHTS -- Panthers roar too, right?
With top-seeded Peninsula and No. 16-seeded Rowland tangled in a closer-than-expected scrap, Panthers standout Reese Morgan made a bucket and let it all out.
He roared. Another basket, another roar. Each time louder, more ferocious.
Peninsula wasn't about to get ambushed on the road, not after putting together a 24-game win streak and going undefeated in Bay League play. Not on Morgan's watch, at least. The Cal Poly San Luis Obispo-bound guard had a game-high 23 points, helping Peninsula (27-1) erase a halftime deficit in a 59-49 win Friday night. The Panthers advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 2A boys basketball playoffs.
That's worth a roar or two.
"I tend to do that," Morgan said of his roaring. "I'm a pretty emotional player. I don't try to get too angry or down, but when I'm excited I'll show it. I think it gets the crowd into it and gets my teammates into it a little bit. It's a little bit of a motivation for myself, I get myself pumped up. I think I play better after that."
So did the Panthers, whose one-point deficit at the break had everyone mulling the improbable upset. A buzzer-beating three-pointer by Rowland's Derrick Mar sent the gym into a frenzy at halftime.
"It was not good," Morgan said. "I knew they had the momentum after that, but I thought we'd be OK."
Peninsula would be fine, but the close call had coach Jim Quick making a trip to the water cooler every few minutes. Sam Borst-Smith had 15 and Odera Anakwanze had 10 for the Panthers. Sharif Watson finished with 17 for Rowland (17-12).
Quick wasn't pleased with his team's execution in the first half and acknowledged that a better defensive approach helped things turn around in the second. The Panthers held the Raiders to eight points in the third quarter.