ANAHEIM — The No. 8 Arroyo Grande High boys basketball team fell short 50-35 in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AAA championship game against No. 2 Pasadena this afternoon at Anaheim Convention Center in its quest for the school's first title.
It was only the Eagles’ second appearance in a section title game since 1970.
Arroyo Grande (22-9) had trouble with Pasadena’s speed and stingy defense, giving up fastbreak layups and committing 21 turnovers compared to the Bulldogs’ 12.
The Eagles were led by Brent VanderVeen’s 12 points and 10 rebounds and Matt Willkomm contributed 11 points and three assists but also had nine turnovers. Arroyo Grande went 2 for 13 from the 3-point line, with Gunnar Gomez (eight points) making both of the shots.
Arroyo Grande fell behind 20-10 at halftime but cut it to 27-23 at the end of the third quarter, thanks to a 6-0 run and outscoring Pasadena 13-7 in that period.
But the Bulldogs (25-6), who won their fifth section title in their 11th appearance, opened the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run to take full control of the game with a 35-23 lead. Willkomm’s jumper with 3:47 left pulled the Eagles within 37-31, but they only made one field goal after that point.
Brandon Jolley, a 6-foot-5 junior forward, led Pasadena with 18 points and guard Blake Hamilton contributed with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Both teams will continue onto the CIF state tournament.