Taj Regans has big second half to push Crespi to 25-2

STUDIO CITY, Ca. – Even with its star guard on the bench all of the second half, the Crespi High boys’ basketball team took care of the last of its Mission League and regular-season business Friday night at Harvard-Westlake.

The Celtics wrapped of the league portion of its schedule at 12-0 with its 72-63 victory over the host Wolverines in front of a full house.

Coach Russell White’s team will take a 25-2 overall record mark and 14-game winning streak into the Feb. 17 first round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

The Celtics’ players and coaches will find out Saturday afternoon whether that will be as one of the eight selections into the Southern Section’s Open Division field or as the likely No. 1 seed in the 32-team bracket for the Southern Section’s Division I playoffs.

The Wolverines (21-5 overall and 9-3 in league) are expected to be a reasonably high seed in the Division I field, which will be unveiled at the Southern Section’s Los Alamitos office Sunday afternoon.

Coach David Rebibo’s squad was short-handed, as starting freshman forward Stone Gettings wasn’t in the building (concussion protocol) and 6-foot-10 sophomore center Mason Hooks played just a few minutes, off the bench and in the first half, while enduring lingering effects of the influenza.

University of Arizona-bound guard Brandon Williams scored 12 points with four rebounds, two assists and a steal for Crespi in a first-half that ended with the Celtics clinging to a two-point advantage (at 39-37) in intermission.

Williams suffered an apparent poke in an eye during an on-the-roll-on-the-floor struggled for a loose ball with 4:06 to go in the second quarter.

We returned to the game with 2:44 to go before intermission but, according to White, apparently suffered some degree of ankle injury just before the buzzer.

He’ll have the better part of seven days to recover from either or both before his team’s playoff opener.

But the Celtics actually pulled away with Williams as a spectator, thanks mostly to his class- and backcourt-mate, Taj Regans.

After scoring seven points in the first half, Regans hit four of five shots (two of those 3s) in the third quarter for 10 points as the Celtics pushed their edge to nine points.

Scored 12 more (for a game-high 29 points) to help his team go up by as many as 14 points with a little more than a minute to go.

Highly touted sophomore Johnny Juzang (who averages close to 23 points per game) was, for the most part, held in check by Crespi’s defense Friday night as he was limited to 17 points – missing 11 of his 16 shots from the field – to go with nine rebounds and five turnovers.

Another 10th-grader, Brase Dottin, scored 13 of his team-high 23 points in the final quarter for the Wolverines.

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