By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
Rivalries are supposed to be physical battles, and Thursday’s crosstown clash between the West Warriors and South Apache seventh graders was no exception.
South was able to avenge an earlier loss to the Warriors with a 39-23 win after having lost three straight games where the Apaches had second half leads.
Both teams found themselves in foul trouble early.
South’s John Aung headed to the bench after earning three fouls in the first half, and Alijah Taylor also headed to the South bench after he picked up four first-half fouls.
West had to bench standout Cesar Burciaga midway through the second quarter when he picked up his third foul.
The Apaches erased a 2-0 West lead and took control midway through the first quarter.
Taylor scored five first quarter points for the Apaches to spark a 13-7 advantage.
With fouls mounting in the second quarter, both teams struggled to score.
West had a chance to cut into South’s lead, but the Warriors struggled to knock down mid-range jumpers, and the Apaches struggled to get quality shots and committed several turnovers.
By halftime, South had a 17-11 lead.
Burciaga returned for the Warriors for one possession in the third quarter and picked up his fourth foul which sent him back to the bench.
Both teams spent most of their time at the free throw line in the third quarter, but South extended their lead to 27-17.
Matthew Hernandez took over in the fourth quarter for the Apaches, scoring eight points with mid-range jumpers and drives to the basket, and Aung added two baskets.
Dylan Thompson connected on a three for the Warriors, but West couldn’t get any more long-range shots, and the Apaches cruised to the 39-23 win.
Hernandez led the Apaches with 13 points, and Aung added 12.
Thompson led the Warriors with nine points.