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Foreman clinched the Red-North on Thursday with a dominant first quarter that Taft could never recover from.
The Hornets pulled away to a 55-33 victory to win or tie for the conference title for the seventh consecutive year.
“John Joyce is the best player in the conference,” Foreman coach Terry Head said. “We wanted to not let him get going because we know that would feed into everyone else.”
Foreman (14-3, 9-0) used three different players to guard Joyce throughout the game. Chris Boldin had the first crack at it in the first quarter and succeeded in holding Joyce scoreless while his team took a 16-2 lead.
“We let them hit open shots and build momentum,” Joyce said. “We had to do a better job of taking care of the ball – myself especially.”
Carl White is the only returning starter on Foreman and he showed his leadership by scoring nine first-half points on his way to 13 for the game. He was setup by point guard Marcus Gatlin who was masterful in running the Taft offense.
“My job is to bring energy to the team,’’ Gatlin said. “I’m there to make sure that everybody plays together as a team.’’
Taft made one push in the second half at closing in on the double-digit lead. Joyce hit a three pointer from the right of the circle to bring the Eagles (10-10, 7-2) to within 36-25.
That basket was quickly offset by Boldin’s three-pointer that stemmed Taft’s momentum.
“This feels great,’’ White said. “We’ve never won the conference outright since I’ve been on the varsity. It would be big time to carry this into the (Public League) playoffs and make the final four.’’
Joyce finished with 11 points and Joshua Doss led Taft with 13.
Karon Linton came off the bench to score 13 and took his turn guarding Joyce in parts of the second and third quarters. White was the third defender to guard Joyce.