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EL SEGUNDO HERALD March 3, 2016 Page 5 CIF Title Hopes End in Quarter-Finals for Eagles The Enigma That is Steph Curry By Adam Serrao Sometimes it’s hard to shift interest over from a football season that takes place every week to the long, 82 game year that the NBA boasts. One person who has certainly been making that shift quite a bit easier is the Golden State Warriors point guard, Stephen Curry. Curry has made quick work of becoming the face of the National Basketball Association. LeBron, who? In just three short years, Curry has not only brought his team to a championship level, but has also won an MVP and is reconstructing the game of basketball as we know it. Sure, it’s hard to stay focused on every game of a season that’s so long, but when Steph Curry suits up to take the court, all eyes are transfixed on the Warrior. For those that don’t know much about Curry, the son of former NBA player Dell Curry and the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft played college ball for Davidson. The 6-foot-3, 190 pound point guard started making headlines at a young age. It was at Davidson that Curry was twice named the Southern Conference Player of the Year and set the all-time scoring record for not only his team, but also the conference. During his sophomore year, Curry fully developed his touch. He set the single-season NCAA record for 3-pointers made, foreshadowing what the sharpshooter would soon become in the NBA. “He’s doing things that nobody’s ever done before,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of his superstar after he turned in another 51 point effort in a win against the Orlando Magic. It wasn’t just any other win, though. It was a win, on the road, on a back-to-back night after a hard-fought game against the Miami Heat where Curry scored 42 points, including a 3-point shot that eventually decided the game. If you haven’t caught on yet, Curry is simply mastering the 3-pointer. From fall-away’s, to fade-away’s to even half-court shots; if Curry puts the ball in the air, it finds a way to fall through the hoop. Just last week, Curry set a new consecutive 3-point mark that was formerly held by Atlanta Hawks guard, Kyle Korver. In breaking Korver’s record, Curry made a 3-point shot in his 128th consecutive game. Something makes it seem as if that record will last well beyond 128 games. “I have a hard time seeing how that streak is ever going to end,” said Orlando Magic head coach, Scott Skiles. “It would have to be kind of a fluke night. He’d just have to be off that night, and that certainly doesn’t happen very often.” Curry set the record against Skiles and his Magic team in the Warriors 130-114 win. Even Kerr, Steph’s own coach, is downplaying the significance of the records that his star player is setting. “It’s so simple for him. His 3-point shot is like a 2-point shot,” Kerr explained. “It’s what he does. It’s to the point where we expect a half-court shot.” Perhaps the most amazing thing about Curry is that no one can shut him down. Whether it’s the best defensive team in the league or the best individual defender, Curry finds a way to avoid being stopped. He’ll shoot a three right in someone’s face, beat his defender off the dribble, orcut to the basket from the 3-point line, confusing his opponent, only to get an easy bucket at the rim. “The strength that he has is allowing him to step further and further back without changing his mechanics,” Curry’s trainer Brandon Payne said. “He’s able to create any look that he wants because he’s able to get backward away from pressure.” Curry’s incredible range is exactly what sets up other opportunities on the court. “If you get up tight on him, that’s actually what we want you to do,” Payne continued. “We want you to get up tight on him because then it’s going to open lanes to the basket when he plays off the high post.” Last Saturday night at Oklahoma City, Curry put on his purest demonstration yet of how and why he’s clearly the best player in the league. Not only did Curry tie a record for most 3-pointers made in a game (12), but he broke his own record for most 3-pointers made in a season with 24 games still remaining. Ray Allen previously held the record with 269 3’s made. Curry broke Allen’s record in the 2012- ’13 season with 272 and has broken his own record every year since with 286 in ‘14-’15 and 288 this year with plenty of games still to be played. Aside from the records, Curry’s phenomenal play guided the Warriors into overtime against the Thunder and a ridiculous shot from more than 35 feet out not only won the game for Golden State, but also had the rest of the league in awe. “@StephenCurry30 needs to stop it man!!” LeBron James tweeted after Curry made an absurd shot look routine to win the game. “He’s ridiculous man! Never before seen someone like him in the history of ball.” Dwyane Wade tweeted out, “Curry is UNREAL!!!!” and Magic Johnson chimed in saying, “@StephenCurry30 has a chance to be the greatest player we’ve ever seen, if he plays at this level for the next 4-5yrs!” Clearly, Curry has everyone’s attention. Curry is the closest thing that the NBA has seen to “un-guardable” since Michael Jordan dawned the red and black for the Chicago Bulls. Even now, six years into the league, Curry is being labeled the greatest shooter to ever play the game. He has no trouble garnering other labels, too. He’s the new face of the league, the reigning Most Valuable Player, an NBA Finals champion and was named the 2015 Male Athlete of the Year by The Associated Press. Curry is bringing finesse back to a league that was so recently enamored with slam dunks and inside post play. The power game has become a thing of the past. Now, people want to show up early to catch warm-ups just to see Curry dribble the ball or shoot 3-pointers that range out toward the half-court line. Steph Curry is not only changing the way basketball is played, but he’s changing the way that we, the viewers, watch the game. Whoever would have thought that the 3-point shot would be exciting? Now, people tune in to watch the Warriors to see how many Curry will make in a night, who he’ll shoot them over, and how long the Warriors will go without losing a game. A 20 point deficit, for Curry and these Warriors, can be erased in the blink of an eye. No lead is safe. The 52-5 Warriors are on pace to beat Michael Jordan’s Bulls best season record ever of 72-10, giving us all yet another reason to tune in every night. Basketball has never been so exciting and it’s Steph Curry who has truly changed the game. • Photos and Story by Gregg McMullin When the playoff brackets came out for all five El Segundo high school teams advancing to the CIF playoffs, the draw for the girls’ water polo team, boys and girls’ basketball and boys’ and girls’ soccer teams was not encouraging. Each team would end up facing the fourth seeded team early on. But not surprisingly each team faced the arduous confrontation with the desire to beat the best so they could end up being the best. One team rocked the soccer world while the other four teams nearly shocked the sporting scene. The water polo team lost to Westridge, which will play Santa Monica for the CIF title. The boys’ basketball team fell to fourth seeded Mission Prep, the girls’ soccer team lost a heartbreaker on penalty kicks to fourth seeded Royal and the girls’ basketball team fell in the final seconds to fourth seeded Duarte. The only team to defeat the fourth seed was the boys’ soccer team which defeated Bellflower the defending CIF champions but then fell in the quarter-finals to Santa Paula. The El Segundo high school soccer boys’ program has been on the upswing for the past few years and looks to restock the cupboard each year. Last season the Eagles won a school record 18 games and reached the quarter-finals for the first time in the program’s history. This season they won the Ocean League outright and were on a roll when the playoffs started. The Eagles won their first round playoff game 4-1 over Temecula Valley and faced Bellflower in the second round. The Buccaneers were the Suburban League champions, the fourth seeded team and the defending CIF-SS Division 4 champions with no less than 12 returning players. The Eagles have a senior heavy starting lineup with plenty of experience. They demonstrated their athleticism, speed and gutty desire and came away with a hard fought 2-1 win that wasn’t pretty but well earned. Bellflower (18-4-1) took a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute when Flavio Martinez scored on a header off a corner kick from Alan Ramirez. The Eagles nearly evened the game moments later when Nabi Sidiqi’s header off Grant Bemis’ corner kick was just over the crossbar. The Eagles did tie the game when goalie Tyler Hollick boomed a punt that was misjudged by a Bellflower defender. Gilbert Cortez utilized the bounce that went his way and went one-on-one with the goalie and Cortez pounded one to the back of the net. “I had an idea that their goalie was leaning and I took it the other way,” said Cortez. This was a game that featured no less than seven yellow cards and an ejection by a Bellflower player. That meant the Eagles would have a man advantage the rest of the way and they took the opportunity to pressure the Buccaneers’ goalie Jordan Jacobo. Grant Bemis hammered one that was destine for glory only to hit the crossbar. Jacobo would make three other saves and a total of seven for the game. With Bellflower bewildered and frustrated by the upstart Eagles a Buccaneer player was handed his ejection red card papers when he took a violent swing at an Eagle. Though no contact was made the officials huddled and made the ruling. Two minutes after Bellflower lost its player the Eagles capitalized. Cortez got positioning behind the defense on a long throw-in by Justin Knoll and scored to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead in the first half. The Eagles would put the pressure on the Buccaneers throughout the game but came away empty each time.   Bellflower had its moments but El Segundo’s back line of Knoll, Zach Franco, Dan Gutierrez and Zach Skwarek made sure that Hollick was well protected. As it is Hollick made seven saves, some from close range including two from a scrum of player deep in the zone. The Eagles had shocked the soccer world with their win over the champions. They See Eagles, page 14 Burkley & Brandlin LLP A T T O R N E Y S A T L A W Living Trusts/Wills, Probate, Employment Law, Personal Injury Trust and Estates Litigation, Business Litigation, Civil Litiga tion 310-540-6000 Lifetime El Segundo Residents *AV Rated (Highest) Martindale - Hubbell / **Certified Specialist Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization Brian R. Brandlin • Bruce R. Brandlin • Christopher P. Brandlin


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