Buckley Remains Undefeated With Win Over Taft

Buckley Griffins 80, Taft Toreadors 72By Dave Rogahn
Austin Butler scored 30 points and Astin Beal had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds as Buckley ran its record to 25-0 with an 80-72 win over Taft Monday night before a loud capacity crowd at the school's tiny gym in the hills above Sherman Oaks.
Buckley (25-0) trailed after each of the first three quarters, but took a 54-52 lead on a 3-point play after Beal went the length of the court for a lay-up, and then got a 3-pointer from Brendon Ferguson to make it 57-52. Taft got within a point a couple of minutes later, but the Griffins went on a 9-0 run to take a 10-point lead with 3:34 left, and led by at least six points the rest of the way.
"These guys just keep believing and executing," said Buckley coach Mike Hamilton.
Long known as the school of the Hilton sisters, the Kardashians and Michael Jackson's children, Buckley continues to make a name for itself on the basketball floor. A year ago the Griffins won the Southern Section Division V-AA championship and has finished the season ranked in the top 10 in its section (per maxpreps) each of the last five seasons.
But this Griffins team reached a new level Monday night with the win over perennial city section power Taft. And Buckley has concluded its regular season, with only the Liberty League tournament and the playoffs left on the schedule. No other Liberty League team is ranked in the state's top 300 schools (Buckley is ranked #80) according to MaxPreps, so it's highly likely that the Griffins will enter the playoffs with a perfect record.
"We will be fine," Hamilton said when asked if the Griffins might lose their edge before the playoffs. "It will give us a chance to get real healthy, help our bodies recover and have a burst of energy for the playoffs."
Monday, Taft (9-12) gave Buckley one of its toughest tests yet. The Toreadors took an early 11-7 lead, built a 26-21 lead midway through the second quarter and led, 36-31, at the half. When the third quarter started, Taft's Damian Wilson stole Buckley's inbounds pass and sent it to Chris Sandifer for a lay-up to make it 38-31.
That was Taft's largest lead of the game, and Buckley still trailed, 45-40, after a slam dunk by Sandifer midway through the third quarter. Buckley rallied to take a 49-47 lead and led, 51-50, before Sir Kenneth Scott scored off a pass from Wilson - his 11th assist of the game - at the end of the third quarter to put Taft back in front heading into the final eight minutes.
When the final quarter started, however, Buckley went right into the lead on Beal's 3-point play and never trailed again. Taft got within a point at 59-58, but Beal made two free throws with 5:04 left to make it 61-58. A steal by David Yona resulted in a lay-up by Butler that made it 63-58, and then Andrew Schiantarelli made a three to push Buckley's lead to 66-58. Two free throws by Butler with 3:34 left made it 68-58.
"We had a great game plan and this team fed off our great crowd and fans we had in the gym," Hamilton said.
Taft got within six points with 2:10 left and within seven after a Wilson 3-pointer in the final minute, but never really threatened to catch the Griffins late. Butler added two more free throws with 28.5 seconds left and Ferguson stole the ball in the final few seconds, and after time ran out the Buckley student section rushed onto the floor to join their team in celebration of victory number 25.
Butler led Buckley with his 30 points, and added 6 rebounds and 3 assists in an outstanding all-around performance.
"We just keep working hard," Butler said. "We like when teams underestimate us. It gives us an edge. I had to do what I had to do for my team to win."
Beal had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and also added 6 assists and 3 steals. Ferguson came off the bench for 12 points, and Chase Holliday just missed a double-double with 9 points and 11 rebounds.
For Taft, the UTEP-bound Sandifer led all scorers with 31 points, which included 4 three-pointers, and also grabbed 6 rebounds. Wilson had 11 points and a game-high 12 assists, and Greg Chew came off the bench for 11 points, 9 in the fourth quarter, and 6 rebounds. But Taft was outrebounded, 45-33, by the smaller Griffins, and outscored, 29-20, in the fourth and decisive quarter.
Box scoreMonday, January 27, 2014 - 6:30 pm
At The Buckley School, Sherman Oaks
Taft Toreadors 72:0-Chris Sandifer, SF - 12/24 fg, 3/3 ft, 6 reb, 2 pf, 31 pts
3-Clifton Powell, SG - 0/5 fg, 3 reb, 1 ast, 1 blk, 2 pf, 0 pts
4-Damian Wilson, PG - 2/7 fg, 6/8 ft, 6 reb, 12 ast, 2 stl, 5 pf, 11 pts
25-Jayvone Gentle, PF - 4/9 fg, 1/2 ft, 4 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl, 4 pf, 9 pts
32-Sir Kenneth Scott, C - 2/3 fg, 1/2 ft, 4 reb, 2 ast, 2 blk, 3 pf, 5 pts
13-Greg Chew, F - 4/5 fg, 3/3 ft, 6 reb, 11 pts
21-Gal Sahar, F - 0/2 fg, 1/2 ft, 1 pf, 1 pt
24-Elliott Hampton, G - 1/1 fg, 1 pf, 2 pts
12-Danny Nagavi, G - 1/1 fg, 1 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl, 1 pf, 2 pts
team rebounds: 5
Totals: 26/57 fg (.456), 15/20 ft (.750), 33 reb, 17 ast, 3 blk, 4 stl, 19 pf, 72 pts
3-pt fg (5): Sandifer 4, Wilson
Fouled Out: Wilson 13.6 seconds left
Turnovers (15): Sandifer 3, Powell 3, Chew 3, Wilson 2, Gentle, Scott, Sahar, Hampton
Buckley Griffins 80:3-David Yona, C - 1/6 fg, 2/2 ft, 6 reb, 1 ast, 1 blk, 2 stl, 2 pf, 4 pts
11-Austin Butler, PG - 10/19 fg, 10/12 ft, 6 reb, 3 ast, 1 blk, 2 pf, 30 pts
13-Andrew Schiantarelli, SG - 2/9 fg, 2 reb, 3 pf, 6 pts
20-Astin Beal, PF - 5/8 fg, 7/8 ft, 11 reb, 6 ast, 3 stl, 2 pf, 17 pts
23-Chase Holliday, SF - 3/14 fg, 2/3 ft, 11 reb, 1 stl, 5 pf, 9 pts
2-Mateen Zar, G - 1/3 fg, 2 reb, 1 ast, 1 pf, 2 pts
21-Brendon Ferguson, G - 5/9 fg, 1/2 ft, 3 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl, 2 pf, 12 pts
4-Elliot Penhassian, G - 0 pts
team rebounds: 4
Totals: 27/68 fg (.397), 22/27 ft (.815), 45 reb, 13 ast, 2 blk, 8 stl, 17 pf, 80 pts
3-pt fg (4): Schiantarelli 2, Holiday, Ferguson
Fouled Out: Holiday 2:27 left
Turnovers (11): Butler 5, Beal 4, Holiday 2
Score by Quarters:
Taft--------15-21-16-20 = 72
Buckley---13-18-20-29 = 80
Updated Records: Buckley 25-0, Taft 9-12
Taft led by 7 points at 38-31 early in the 2nd half and at 45-40 after a Sandifer jam.
Buckley took a 57-52 lead on a 3-pt play by Beal and a 3-pt FG by Ferguson.
It was 59-58 when Buckley went on a 9-0 run to lead, 68-58, and led by 6+ the rest of the way.
Quotes were gathered by Jack Pollon, Daily News.