LAKEWOOD - An undefeated run and sole possession of a Suburban League title appear to be only fanciful wishing for the La Mirada High School boys basketball team.
Despite a 37-point, 14-rebound effort from senior Derrick Williams, the visiting Matadores (22-3 overall, 9-1 in league) were upset by archrival Mayfair 77-67 Wednesday night.
La Mirada, which trailed for most of the second half, came its closest to pulling even with Mayfair at 53-49 after a Williams' spinning layup off a Jet Soto assist with 5:42 left in the fourth.
However, the Monsoons (17-7, 9-1) responded with a mini 5-0 run that put them up 58-49 with 3:48 remaining.
Yet, the Matadores battled back and closed the gap to four points when Williams calmly took a Connor Gillett pass at the top of the arc, faked like he was going inside, and then nailed a 3-pointer.
The bucket put the score at 60-56 in Mayfair's favor with 1:36 left.
The Monsoons then went against the conventional wisdom of trying to milk the clock by taking their inbounds pass and racing down court.
The quick pace caught La Mirada off guard, as the Matadores allowed a Tim Douglass uncontested running layup off a Sam Ferguson assist seven seconds after Williams' triple.
La Mirada fought back again with two Williams' free throws at 1:27 only to have Mayfair fire back with two Donovan Hanley made free throws 12 seconds later as Mayfair maintained its six-point advantage.
The game fell apart for La Mirada on its very next possession when Williams positioned himself just outside the paint with the ball.
Just as Williams was double-teamed he tried to kick out to teammate Mark Nichiporuk at the 3-point line.
Williams' pass, however, was intercepted by Allan Banker, who was immediately fouled by Nichiporuk.
Banker made both free throws and the Matadores never threatened again.
"We have to remember this loss so that we'll continue to work hard in practice," Gillett said.
"Our goal is to win CIF."
Gillett finished with eight points while Ryan Kelly added 14 for La Mirada.
Douglass had a team-high 21 points for Mayfair.
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