Canyon boys basketball wins battle with Pilibos in North O.C. Championships semifinals

Canyon’s Jaden Goodall takes a rebound away from Pilibos’ Alex Andriassian during a boys basketball tournament on Dec. 15, 2023 in La Habra, CA. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

Pilibos’ Antranik Balian shoots over Canyon’s Noah Kim during a boys basketball tournament on Dec. 15, 2023 in La Habra, CA. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

Canyon’s Jaden Goodall shoots over Pilibos’ Antranik Balian and Alex Andriassian during a boys basketball tournament on Dec. 15, 2023 in La Habra, CA. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

Pilibos’s Eric Honanian (#3) guards Canyon’s Noah Kim during a boys basketball tournament on Dec. 15, 2023 in La Habra, CA. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

Canyon’s Brady Curry (#11) and Pilibos’ Antranik Balian (#24) fight for the ball during a boys basketball tournament on Dec. 15, 2023 in La Habra, CA. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

Canyon’s Jaden Goodall shoots over Pilibos’ Bemetri Galadjian during a boys basketball tournament on Dec. 15, 2023 in La Habra, CA. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

Canyon’s Staf Yilmazturk gets past Pilibos’ Antranik Balian for a layup during a boys basketball tournament on Dec. 15, 2023 in La Habra, CA. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

Pilibos’ Antranik Balian (#24) drives past Canyon’s Staf Yilmazturk during a boys basketball tournament on Dec. 15, 2023 in La Habra, CA. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

Canyon’s Jaden Goodall is defended by Pilibos’ Antranik Balian ((#24) during a boys basketball tournament on Dec. 15, 2023 in La Habra, CA. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

Pilibos’ Antonio Balian, right, is defended by Canyon’s Josh Goodall (#13) and Brady Curry (#11) in a boys basketball tournament on Dec. 15, 2023 in La Habra, CA. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

Canyon’s Staf Yilmazturk (#0) has the ball stripped away by Pilibos’ Eric Honanian (#3) in a boys basketball tournament on Dec. 15, 2023 in La Habra, CA. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

Pilibos’ Antranik Balian shoots over Canyon’s Jaden Goodall a boys basketball tournament on Dec. 15, 2023 in La Habra, CA. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

Canyon’s Noah Kim (#23) looks to pass the ball while being defended by Pilibos guard Eric Honanian (#3) in a tournament game Dec. 15, 2023 in La Habra, CA. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

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LA HABRA — The Canyon boys basketball team didn’t play its best game, especially down the stretch, but still managed to hang on for a 63-60 victory over Pilibos of Los Angeles in a semifinal of the North Orange County Championships tournament Friday at Sonora High School.

The Comanches, who are ranked No. 9 in Orange County, will play Etiwanda in the championship game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Etiwanda defeated Villa Park, 61-44, in the other semifinal Friday.

Pilibos will play the Spartans for third place at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Canyon (7-2) led 60-51 with 1 minute remaining in the game but allowed the Eagles (7-3) to make it a one-possession game by going 2 of 10 from the free throw line in the final seconds.

The Eagles were able to come back from a 10-point halftime deficit and keep the game close from midway through the third quarter, mostly because of the play of junior Antranik Balian.

The guard scored 20 points, including seven in the fourth quarter and made two big steals.

“We wish we would have played a little bit smarter at the end of that game,” Canyon coach Nate Harrison said. “But take nothing away from them. That’s a great basketball team that we just played.”

In Pilibos’ 72-71 victory over No. 7 Edison in the quarterfinals Wednesday, Balian scored 39 points for the Eagles.

And on Tuesday, Balian scored 51 points in a 90-78 victory over Paraclete.

Early in the fourth, Canyon led 50-44 and had possession when Balian made a steal, drove the length of the court and scored to get the Eagles to within four.

The Comanches were up 60-53 with 39 seconds left in the game when Balin stole Canyon’s inbound pass and passed off to Eric Honanian, who made the easy layup to make the score 60-55.

Balin then grabbed a defensive rebound, drove the length of the court again, and scored to make the score 60-57.

After the Comanches made one of two free throws, and with 11 seconds remaining, the Eagles were hit with a technical foul for calling a timeout after being out of timeouts.

That gave Canyon two free throws and possession.

Jaden Goodell made one of the two free throws with 1.5 seconds on the clock.

Balin got off a half-court shot that hit the back of the rim and bounced away.

“They’re a very good team,” Eagles coach Sarkis Balain said. “So is everybody here. Everybody’s well coached. It’s one of the best tournaments that I’ve been part of, to be honest with you. We’ve never been in this kind of tournament where there’s big schools and we’re a small school with 300 students. I’m actually very happy that I’m part of this beautiful tournament that is very organized and run professionally.”

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