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Basketball Millikan

CIF Boys’ Basketball: Millikan Comeback Falls Short In Semifinals

A slow start doomed Millikan boys’ basketball in the CIF Southern Section Division 3A semifinals on Tuesday night as the Rams fell 61-56 to visiting Dana Hills. The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for Millikan.

“To me it was just a tale of two halves,” Millikan coach Curtis Boyer said. “Our energy and discipline in the first half was atrocious. We got after (the players) at halftime and you saw the different result, but if we didn’t have to come back from a 16-point deficit the game would’ve been drastically different.”

Dana Hills opened up a big lead in the first half thanks to hot shooting from the outside. Senior guard Griffin Haugh made five 3-pointers for the Dolphins before halftime and scored 20 of his game-high 25 points in the first half.

Millikan bounced back and used a 10-0 run in the third quarter to pull within a bucket. Senior Kamaury Washington, junior Andrew Argyros and sophomore Donovan Desha each scored 14 points for Millikan.

“I should’ve started the game off more aggressively,” Washington said. “They were grabbing me and I didn’t know how to shake it off. (In the second half) I started drawing fouls and getting what I was looking for and we stepped up.”

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The Rams trailed Dana Hills 39-23 at halftime, but outscored the Dolphins 21-10 in the third quarter and 33-22 in the second half.

Both teams got their claws out on defense in the first quarter and Dana Hills only led 12-10 headed to the second when Haugh took over. The Dolphins used a 13-2 run to take the big halftime lead. Dana Hills made nine 3-pointers in the game.

“We haven’t played this way in probably two months,” Boyer said. “That was the frustrating thing. During our winning streak they were just coming out and battling. We didn’t battle in the first half.”

Washington had a double-double with his 14 points and 12 rebounds. Desha and senior Eric Bonales combined for five assists. Freshman Jackson Cryst chipped in seven rebounds down low.

The game stayed close for most of the fourth quarter, but when Millikan cut the lead to three in the final minutes, Dana Hills was able to keep the ball from 1:30 left in regulation to about 30 seconds thanks to a pair of offensive rebounds.

It was a three-point game again with less than 10 seconds left, but Hough made a pair of free throws to clinch the victory.

Millikan (15-18) isn’t done yet this season and will be part of the CIF State playoffs that start next week. It was the first CIF-SS semifinals appearance for the Rams since 2016.

VIDEO: Millikan vs. Dana Hills, CIF Boys’ Basketball

PHOTOS: Millikan vs. Dana Hills, CIF Boys’ Basketball

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.