first_imgSo with the Almont League crown on the line Friday night, perhaps it was fate that brought the teams together again. This time, however, the visiting Spartans one-upped their rivals by outscoring the Aztecs 28-11 in the fourth quarter en route to a league-clinching 61-50 win. • Photo Gallery: 02/09: Keppel vs. Schurr • Slideshow: 02/09: Keppel vs. Schurr ALHAMBRA- Perhaps no squad has frustrated the Schurr High School boys basketball team more over the past few years than rival Keppel. Just as two Aztecs blocked his path, Valdez pulled up behind the 3-point line and sank a 23-footer. On the Aztecs’ next possession, the Spartans’ Aaron Jae made his only steal of the game on another errant Aztecs pass, and it led to a 2-on-1 break. As Aztecs center Samuel Walker positioned himself for a block, Jae passed to teammate Jonathan Palomino for an easy layup. The basket gave Schurr its first lead, 40-39, with 5:28 left. Palomino’s basket was a pivotal play, but it also was part of a 15-0 run that spanned about four minutes and turned a nine-point deficit into a six-point lead. “In the fourth, we had problems with their pressure,” Keppel coach Hung Duong said. “We couldn’t execute. We didn’t handle the pressure well.” Keppel did catch Schurr at 45-45, but the Spartans closed out the final 3:21 on a 16-5 run. “It feels good,” Spartans senior Jeremy Gerardo said of the win. “I’ve only been here one year, so this is new to me. It’s a great feeling.” Gerardo led the Spartans with 15 points and five rebounds. The loss spoiled a brilliant performance by Madrigal, who had a game-high 30 points. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img “(Keppel) is the four-time defending (league) champion,” Schurr coach Kevin Akiyama said. “This is a special place to play. The boys played a hell of a game, and I’m proud of them.” The Spartans (15-8, 8-2), down by six entering the fourth quarter, began to press the Aztecs’ guards. Keppel (17-9, 7-3), which entered the quarter with seven turnovers, committed 11 in the final quarter. Friday’s turning point may have come on a pair of turnovers. The Spartans trailed by four when junior guard Alex Valdez intercepted a pass intended for Keppel’s Noel Madrigal and raced down court. last_img read more