San Gabriel Valley Tribune
February 25, 2015
By John Howell
Walnut rolls into boys basketball 1A quarterfinals
WALNUT-- Eighth-seeded Walnut continued its high scoring ways with an 84-65 win over ninth-seeded Mayfair in a second-round game of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1A playoffs on Tuesday night.
It was the 15th consecutive win for the Mustangs (25-5), who will travel to top-seeded Loyola for a 7 p.m. quarterfinal matchup on Friday night.
The Mustangs started the third quarter on a 14-4 run to blow the game open and led 63-44 at the end of that period.
Dwight Ramos was held to five points in the first half but hit a pair of 3-pointers in the run and scored 10 points in the quarter on his way to a team high of 21.
The ball that is incredible,” Mustangs first-year coach Joe Khouzam said. “But, that’s the great thing about this team. If Dwight wasn’t on early, we have other guys that can pick it up.”
Senior Jeff Huang sparked the Mustangs in the first quarter, scoring 8 of his total of 15 points in the period while battling the much bigger Monsoons on the boards.
“Jeff really got us going early in the game,” Khouzam said. “He just did a great job starting the game off.”
Senior point guard Zuri Williams had 19 points, and Ryan Herrera added 11 for the Mustangs.
“This is my fourth year playing,” Williams said. “This the farthest we’ve gone in the playoffs and I think it is because this is the best team chemistry it’s ever been.”
The Monsoons were led by point guard Kendall Small with 23 points, but he fouled out with 1:34 left in the third quarter.
Small was too good to stop from getting his points, but the Mustangs defense smothered his teammates to take control of the game.
“We played great defense tonight,” Khouzam said. “(Mayfair) likes to play up and down the floor and we didn’t want to let them get into their comfort zone. Zuri is a great point guard and he really does control the game, both the offense and the defense. He does such a great job for us, but everyone helped each other, so it was fun to see.”
The Mustangs defense, led by Williams, sparked a pair of runs, 15-2 in the first quarter and 9-1 to start the second that helped them take a 33-16 lead before the Monsoons were able to claw their way back into the game by halftime.
“It seems like we always draw tough teams in the playoffs,” Williams said. “But this year we’ve worked together as a family. Coach tells us to just keep on moving the ball and everyone will get their shots and we’ll continue to make a run in the playoffs.”
Walnut’s Zuri Williams (C) drives to the basket against Mayfair in the first half of a second round prep playoff basketball game at Walnut High School in Walnut, Calif., on Tuesday, February 24, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)KEITH BIRMINGHAM — STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER