LA VERNE—The St. Anthony High School basketball team got off to a blazing start in their CIF playoff against Damien on Wednesday, February 10, jumping out to a fast start on the road. St. Anthony jumped out to a 13-point lead in the first half of their CIF-SS Division 1 opener at Damien, La Verne.

The Spartans would outscore the Saints, 26-8, in the third quarter, and pulled away for a 69-57 victory.

Tyler Small led the Saints with 15 points, and Quincy Phillips finished with 14 points.

Leading the way for Damien was sophomore Center Nate Garcia. After a slow start, Garcia controlled the second half with his size; Garcia’s combination of power and grace is a sight to behold.

He was the most dominant player on the floor, as St. Anthony was eliminated.

Garcia finished with 31 points, which is 16 more than St. Anthony’s leading scorer (Tyler Small). Xavier Clinton chipped in with 14 points in the win.

St. Anthony had a 27-9 advantage beyond the 3-point arc and went 12-for-12 from the free-throw line. It was senior Tyler Smalls final game as a Saint, the Long Beach player of the week was instrumental in their playoff run.

The Spartans converted 14-of-19 at the charity stripe. Damien Head Coach Mike LeDuc had this to say postgame:

“Nate is very difficult to stop, because he’s talented and he’s big. It’s our job to put him in a spot to be successful, and it’s his teammates job to get him the ball.”

St. Anthony finishes at a mark of 14-14. Damien moves on to face Colony high on Friday, February 10.