The La Habra junior duo of Grayson Sinek (L) and Jaedon Anderson were key to the Highlanders victory over Hesperia in the CIFSS 3AA semis
Harold Abend/Prep2Prep

Hot shooting La Habra advances to CIF Southern Section 3AA title game

February 16, 2024

LA HABRA, Calif. – Host and CIF Southern Section Division 3AA top-seeded La Habra came out scorching hot from outside the arc and used the early torrid shooting in a game they never trailed to post a decisive 63-43 Friday night semifinal victory over Hesperia.

Junior Grayson Sinek opened the scoring for La Habra and after Hesperia sophomore Nolan Newman Gomez tied it at 2-2 La Habra took control with its shooting. Highlanders junior Sebastian Esparza hit an NBA length three-pointer and followed that with another long three-pointer for an 8-2 lead and La Habra was off to the races.

La Habra (28-4) connected on six three pointers in the first quarter, two by Esparza, two by junior Grayson Sinek and one each by juniors Jaedon Anderson and Christian Howlin. The result was a 22-10 lead that as the game progressed got the 25 on two occasions before La Habra head coach Aaron Riekenberg gave some subs time near the end.

“Our boys came out loose. They were ready for this moment,” said a jubilant Rieckenberg.

Anderson ended up draining five three-pointers and finished with a game-high 24 points and nine rebounds.

Besides making the two treys Sinek was the floor general and took every opportunity to slash to the basket enough to have six free-throws as part of his 19 points. He also had five rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.

Esparza had nine points on three three-pointers, and sophomore Acen Jimenez played solid defense and finished with five points and five rebounds.

Hesperia (23-9) was led by junior Mark Jones with 19 points including two three-pointers.

While Hesperia will still be in action moving on as a CIFSS semifinalist that will qualify for the state CIF Southern Regional Playoffs, La Habra now gets to play for the 3AA title and a likely high seed in the division its placed in for the SoCals.

“There was no doubt, and I’m so proud and happy for them,” Riekenberg continued. “All the long hours they’ve put in it’s all paid off.”

Yes, it’s paid off so far. However, the match-up next Friday with a St. Bonaventure-Ventura that was a 67-64 winner in its seminal over Serra-Gardena would still have to be considered the ultimate payoff for the Highlanders and their faithful that packed the house for the semi and likely will be out in even more force next week.

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