Warriors rally to beat CC London behind Lozoya’s 40-point outing

FALFURRIAS — Santa Rosa’s message before the game was simple: Believe.

After the Warriors’ slow start to the season, many wondered if this group could follow in the footsteps of last year’s Final Four squad.

But after a 76-71 come-from-behind victory over the 23rd ranked the Corpus Christi London Pirates in a Class 3A regional quarterfinal, few have little doubts that this team means business.

“This game means so much because I know most of the people here didn’t think we actually would make it to regionals,” said Santa Rosa star senior AB Lozoya, who finished with 40 points.

“We just wanted to prove everybody wrong and making it is a huge accomplishment for us. We started off slow but we knew we were a good team. We just needed to put the pieces together and we finally did today.”

With the win the Warriors move on to the Region IV-3A tournament in Seguin and will face Marion on Friday in the regional semifinals. This is the program’s third straight trip to the regional tournament.

“This team is a bunch of fighters,” said Santa Rosa head coach Johnny Cipriano. “A lot of people didn’t expect us to win with us losing what we lost last year but since Day 1, I’ve been telling them that we can go to the regional tournament, and I’m just glad they believed me and they believed in themselves.”

After being down by at least five points for much of the contest, Lozoya started the fourth period by knocking down a 3-pointer to cut London’s lead to 54-52. Moments later, Lozoya came up with a big steal and took it to the basket to tie the game at 54-54 with just over six minutes remaining in the contest.

However, the Pirates were unfazed and quickly put up three points to regain the lead. In total London nailed 12 3-pointers on the night and three in the fourth.

After a back-and-forth affair, it was Santa Rosa that took a small lead heading into the final moments as Lozoya took control. The senior scored 20 of the team’s final 27 points.

“I told my assistant that AB had to go off tonight and he did,” said Cipriano. “He’s hard to handle and I know he’s the smallest guy on the court, but he’s got the biggest heart.”