May 27, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Early offensive spark carries Santa Ana boys basketball team to 44-37 Orange Coast League win over Orange

Santa Ana’s Sebastian Olvera (No. 42) grabs an offensive rebound during the fourth quarter of Friday’s Orange Coast League match-up against Orange.

A dominating first quarter and solid game management in the second half carried the Santa Ana boys basketball team to a 44-37 home Orange Coast League victory over a feisty Orange team Friday night at The Court.

The Saints (11-12, 4-2) jumped to a 16-4 lead in the first quarter and took a 22-9 lead into the half, not knowing the test that they would have in the second half against a courageous Orange squad that clawed itself back into the game in the fourth quarter.

“We had a 19-point lead late in the third (quarter) and we let them back in. We’ve always had these close games with Orange and to be able to come through and close the game was nice,” said Santa Ana Coach Fareed ElMasry.

“They hit three 3-pointers in under a minute to claw themselves back into the game. We couldn’t make a bucket and they were trapping us and made it difficult to find the easy buckets. Luckily our defense came through.”

The Panthers (6-17, 1-4) made it a game through three-point shots and tenacious defense, and outscored the Saints 28-22 in the second half. Orange’s performance was well-praised by Coach Tim Williams, who liked the response from his team after a rough start.

“We started off real slow. Santa Ana came out real strong. They had a great win (against Costa Mesa on Wednesday,” said Williams. “They know how to play against (Zack) Porter, our big guy and they shut him down early on, and it was just hard for us to get momentum. It’s a tough place to play, and they played well today. All credit to their coaching staff. When you dig into a hole like that, it takes a lot to get back.”

To Santa Ana’s fortune solid rebounding by center Sebastian Olvera, clock management by Saay Silva, and field goal efficiency by Jésus Silva allowed to Saints to collect their fourth Orange Coast League victory.

Jésus Silva finished the night with 12 points for the Saints, while Olvera contributed with 11 to seal the victory.

“We got to play smart from here on out and play defense,” said Jesus Silva. “Anything can happen in this league. Anybody can beat us on a given day and anyone can beat anyone in this league. We beat Costa Mesa, we were third and they were undefeated (in Orange Coast play). It’s gonna be a battle from here on.”

Up next, Santa Ana will take on Orange Coast League second place team Estancia (14-10, 5-1) at home Wednesday.

The Panthers will finish off their rescheduled game this upcoming Monday against Saddleback after flooding in Orange High School’s gymnasium last Wednesday, and then face Costa Mesa on the road on Jan. 23.

In other Orange Coast League action, Estancia defeated Saddleback 40-34 on the road, while Costa Mesa defeated Calvary Chapel 83-60.

-Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone