May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Cypress boys basketball team captures Empire League showdown over Crean Lutheran 94-85 in OT

Anthony Tello (left) and Jared Brown led Cypress to a big Empire League victory Tuesday night.

Cypress boys basketball team took round one of the battle for the top in the Empire League, defeating Crean Lutheran 94-85 in overtime Tuesday night in front of a capacity crowd in the Centurions gymnasium.

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo

It was the first public vs. private match-up in the Empire League featuring the newest league member, Crean Lutheran, a private school from Irvine and the heavy rain didn’t keep the fans from either team from attending the game, which was action packed, high intensity from start to finish.

“We kept our composure when they went on their run. We always talk about taking the first hit and keep on rolling with the punches, but we’re proud of our boys, they showed a lot of grit tonight and came out with the victory,” said Cypress Coach Derek Mitchell.

“We knew they were a good team coming in; they had played good competition so when they came in they were 4-0 for a reason.”

Cypress (21-2, 5-0) takes over undisputed possession of first place as it tries to defend its league title.

Anthony Tello scored 22 points and Jared Brown 21 points to lead the Centurions, who were cheered on by their very enthusiastic and vocal student fans, who stormed the court after the game to celebrate.

Crean Lutheran (11-9, 4-1) was led by Jon Scherer, who scored 27 points. Aiden Gilbert had 19 points and Chris Swardstrom added 17 for the Saints.

Many Crean Lutheran fans were also on hand for the game.

Cypress led 38-35 at halftime but the teams were tied 59-59 going into the fourth quarter.

Crean Lutheran took a four-point lead in the fourth quarter and led 79-77 after a basket by Drew Yezbak with 28 seconds left.

However, Cypress tied the game on a jumper by Brown with 2.4 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

“That’s our guy,” Mitchell said. “It wasn’t exactly how we drew it up, but playmakers make plays and he got the loose ball and grabbed it and it went in for us.”

“We knew it was going to be a crazy game,” Brown said. “We finally had a good game in league. We finally have someone who is just as good as us in league and these are the kind of games we want so it was definitely fun to play in.”

The shot at the end of regulation turned out to be huge for Brown.

“Coach set up a pick and roll for me, but I didn’t settle for the three, I knew we only needed a two, so thankfully Clifton Patterson found me on the mid-range and I shot it and it went in,” he said.

Cypress came out strong, moving out to a six point lead in the extra session and held on for the victory, outscoring Crean Lutheran 15-6.

Crean Lutheran held its own on the Cypress court.

“I thought we would be able to compete with them, that’s an awesome team,” said Crean Lutheran Coach Nate Klitzing. “I knew if we could take care of the ball and minimize turnovers and kind of slow them down a little bit on offense and transition, that we would have a chance because we can score with them.

“We played together, we played as a team, we did what we needed to do to come up with an upset here at their place in front of an awesome crowd which was wild. Sometimes, you just come up a play or two short and that’s what happened, but credit to them.”

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com