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Gahr dominates Cerritos again behind Carlyle brothers, Harris


PHOTO BY ARMANDO VARGAS   Photo caption: Gahr senior guard Jeremy Carlyle (#24) goes one-on-one against Cerritos senior guard J.J. Rivera in last Friday night’s city rivalry game. Gahr defeated Cerritos 91-58.


By Loren Kopff

The sequel to the Cerritos-Gahr boys basketball showing was pretty much similar to part one, which was played on Dec. 6 in the championship game of the annual Cerritos-Gahr Tournament. Gahr blasted the Dons 81-42 in that game and last Friday night, the two fierce city rivals met again in their annual tilt which always falls six days after their own tournament.

Host Gahr went on a 12-0 run over a three-minute span in the opening quarter and never looked back in a 91-58 victory. It marked the eighth straight time the Gladiators had defeated the Dons with two of those games coming in the finals of the Cerritos-Gahr Tournament. Since 1999, Gahr now owns a 9-7 regular season, non-tournament record against Cerritos.

“We were just trying to have fun,” said Gahr senior guard Gregory Carlyle. “We knew it was a rivalry game and we wanted to bring energy to the game and just bring it to them. Playing a team twice, the second time after beating them the first time, we knew that [Cerritos] would come out stronger. We tried to bring the same intensity and try to do it again.”

Gahr was leading 5-4 just 67 seconds into the game when it went on its 12-0 run before the Dons (3-2) scored the next five points. But a basket from senior point guard Malik Smith and a steal and bucket from junior guard Justin Smith closed out the first quarter as Gahr was up 21-9. A pair of free throws from Cerritos junior guard Evan Leonard bought the Dons to within eight points again at 25-17 with 5:35 left in the half. But the Gladiators pulled away and had a double-digit lead the remainder of the game.

Part of the reason for Gahr building a 47-27 halftime lead was its perimeter shooting. Senior point guard Jeremy Carlyle sank four downtown shots in the first half while his brother Gregory added three more. On top of that, senior forward Darrell Harris was true on three three-pointers in the half. As a team, the Gladiators were 16 of 35 from beyond the arc.

“We just had to keep being relentless because we knew if we did what we do, it would work,” Gregory Carlyle said. “We just kept playing and doing the same things and not let up.”

The Gladiators (5-0) were up 54-31 following a three-point play from sophomore forward Marvin Bragg before Cerritos went on the first of two 6-0 spurts in the second half. But in the end, it was just too much Gahr, which ended the third quarter on a 10-0 run and ended the game on a 14-2 run.

Gregory Carlyle led everyone with 21 points and was eight of 16 from the field. His brother and Harris each added 17 points while Bragg pitched in with 14 points. Harris also led Gahr with nine rebounds and Gregory Carlyle had five assists along with four of the team’s 13 steals.

Leonard led Cerritos with 19 points while senior guard Andrew Bui added 14 points. Both teams began the prestigious 20-team North Orange County Championships this past Tuesday night with pool play action at Servite and Sonora High Schools. Cerritos faced JSerra and then Lakewood this past Wednesday night while the Gladiators hooked up with Bell Gardens and Claremont on back to back nights. The tournament wraps up on Saturday at Sonora High with eight games. The other two games will be held at Servite.

Gahr is off to its best start since winning the first six games of the 2010-2011 season. The Gladiators, which won the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Division II-A championship, would finish that campaign with a 26-8 mark. The previous season, Gahr started off 14-0 en route to a 27-6 season.

“We’re just trying to start off hard because we know there will be tougher games later,” Gregory Carlyle said.