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Defense spurs Bonanza to playoff win over Eldorado

Bonanza’s boys basketball team uses its unusual defensive set to try to make opponents uncomfortable.

It worked on Monday night.

Eldorado struggled against the Bengals’ 1-3-1 zone, and Bonanza rolled to a 63-45 road win in the opening round of the Mountain Region tournament.

“A lot of people don’t play against that 1-3-1 defense that we have, and it’s kind of like going to the dentist with no Novocain the first time you see it,” Bonanza coach Dan Savage said. “And that was the case in the beginning of the game, is Eldorado struggled finding the open man.”

Eldorado was 8-for-28 (28.6 percent) in the first half as Bonanza (14-13) sprinted to a 36-16 halftime lead.

Kadin Warner, a 6-foot-8-inch senior, had 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Bengals, who had a significant height advantage with Warner teaming with 6-6 senior Ian White.

“We definitely took advantage of our posts,” Savage said. “Our guards shared the ball down low in the post, and we got a couple big dunks. Usually, when our big guys finish at the rim it gets our defense really excited.”

White finished with nine points and 11 rebounds and Joseph Brooks scored 12 for Bonanza, which plays at Shadow Ridge (14-11) at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Eldorado (6-19) got things going to start the second half, forcing eight turnovers in the first five minutes of the third quarter to cut the lead to 40-32. But the Sundevils cooled off again in the fourth quarter and Bonanza pulled away again to win just its second playoff game in the last 11 seasons.

“It’s good for these guys, because they’ve worked hard,” Savage said. “Our record doesn’t really indicate the level of talent that we have. We’ve lost a lot of close games this year. To have 13 wins, we could easily have 18 and be a higher seed.”

Jonathan Thomas and Jalen Malone each had 15 points for Eldorado.

Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4597. Follow @DamonSeiters on Twitter.

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