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Thanks to strong defense, Northridge advances to regional final

02/27/2014, 2:00am CST
By Eric Van Dril | For Sun-Times Media | @VanDrilSports

Chicago Math and Science pulled within 56-53 with 2:36 remaining in the game, but Northridge held the Titans without a field goal after that.

Northridge 65, Chicago Math and Science 54

THE SKINNY

The Northridge boys basketball team held off a feisty Chicago Math and Science squad Wednesday night to advance to the Class 2A Northridge Regional championship, which is set for 7 p.m. Friday. The Knights, the regional's No. 2 seed, will play No. 1 Rickover in the final.

TURNING POINT

Northridge (19-7) was in control throughout the game. It set the tempo, it was more organized and senior forward Steve Leazer was fantastic in the paint throughout. The Knights led by eight points or more after each quarter. The Titans hung around, though, and freshman guard Edmund Martinez (17 points) and sophomore guard Isiah Smith (11 points) drained back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to cut Chicago Math and Science's deficit to 56-53 with 2:36 remaining in the game. Northridge held the Titans without a field goal after that, and its lead quickly ballooned back up to a comfortable margin.

THE STAR

Leazer finished with 28 points and seven rebounds.

BY THE NUMBERS

Northridge senior guard Mike Kane had 11 points and four rebounds. Junior point guard Dylan Haig finished with 13 points. Chicago Math and Science junior forward Brandon Miller scored 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had four blocks.

QUOTABLE

“We hinge on our defense [in key moments]. Right there, we wanted to get one stop at a time and that helped [lead] to offense.” — Leazer on the key to the Knights not panicking when the Titans cut the lead to three points in the fourth

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