Putting an end to Montebello High School’s 23-game Almont League winning streak, the Keppel boys’ basketball team scored a 50-49 victory Tuesday at Montebello.
The win moves Keppel into a first place tie with Montebello with one league game to play for both teams.
“Our kids wanted it,” Keppel Coach Hung Duong said. “We had really good practices and our kids always show up and battle. I’m so proud of them.”
Jordan Young’s 23 points led the Aztecs (19-6 overall, 8-1 in league) to the win. Young did most of the damage from long range, hitting six of nine three-pointers. He was also credited with five rebounds and four assists.
“Jordan played unbelievable,” Keppel Coach Hung Duong said. “He’s been our go to guy all year and he stepped up again tonight.”
Montebello (24-3, 8-1) lost a league game for the first time since losing at Bell Gardens, 62-60, on Jan. 27, 2009.
The Oilers also saw their 17-game winning streak snapped.
Keppel led 16-13 at the end of the first quarter and limited Montebello to two points in the second quarter to hold a 24-15 advantage at halftime.
But the Oilers surged back behind center Antonio Worthy, who scored 12 of his team-high 14 points in the second half. They also turned up the pressure by employing a full-court press to slow the Aztecs.
The Oilers, who had trailed since the start of the game, got three layups from Worthy and a three-pointer from John-Michael Carabes to tie the score, 36-36, with six minutes left in the game.
They went ahead for the first time, 40-39, on a three-pointer by Hector Martinez off a pass from Darius Middleton, who dished off while in mid-air instead of attempting a layup.
A three-pointer by Garrett Masada put the Aztecs ahead, 45-42, with 2:22 left and a slam dunk by Justin Young with 56 seconds kept them ahead.
Justin scored nine points and grabbed 13 rebounds to also lead the Aztecs. He also played stellar defense in denying Montebello shots inside.
“Our game plan was to come in and sag, and pack the key,” Duong said. “They were going to have to make a lot of outside shots to beat us. To give up only 15 points at the half to a Montebello team is really playing some kind of defense.”
Keppel, which has won 11 of 12, plays San Gabriel (2-18, 0-8) at 5:15 p.m. Friday at home. The Aztecs won the first meeting, 63-19, Jan. 25.
“We’re going to be ready to play,” said Duong, when asked if he was worried about a letdown. “We haven’t won a league championship in five years and I’d like to see our seniors win one before they leave.”
Montebello got 11 points from Middleton and De la Cruz finished with nine.
The Oilers play Schurr (8-12, 3-4) at 5:15 p.m. Friday at Schurr.