May 28, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Calvary Chapel, looking to defend league title, tops Santa Ana in opener

Ethan Hanning of Calvary Chapel is defended by Xavier Valdovinos of Santa Ana Wednesday night. (Photos: OC Sports Zone, Tim Burt).

Calvary Chapel’s boys basketball team established itself Wednesday night as the favorite to repeat as Orange Coast League champions, defeating Santa Ana 74-34 in the league opener on the Saints home court.

The Eagles (12-7) jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead and held a 22-9 edge after one quarter. Calvary Chapel was up 38-20 at halftime and by 30 points going into the final quarter.

Calvary Chapel won the league title last season with a 10-0 mark and finished 22-7 overall.

“We know after that undefeated season last year people are going to come up and give us their best,” said Calvary Chapel Coach Jon Hughes.

“It’s unfortunate, we were missing some guys and they were missing some guys as well but I thought our guys did good.”

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

Senior guard Ethan Hanning led the way with 21 points for Calvary Chapel. Keshawn Johnson scored 12 points and Rafa Semarini and Court Franklin had nine points each for Calvary Chapel.

Santa Ana (8-7) was led by Jack Rivera, who scored 21 points and sank six 3-pointers. But the Saints weren’t able to slow down Calvary Chapel from the start, disappointing a solid turnout of Santa Ana fans.

“Their length really gave us some problems, we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds,” said Santa Ana Coach Fareed ElMasry. “They’re clearly the most talented team in our league so we knew we were going to have a battle.

“They got off to a hot start and so that doesn’t help. I thought we prepared well for them, I just didn’t anticipate how good they really are. I knew they were good, I didn’t know they were this good. They’re the clear favorite.”

Santa Ana was hoping to turn the game around in the second half, but Calvary Chapel went on an 11-3 run to start the third quarter and was in control the rest of the way.

“We’ve been preparing for this game for a long time, especially league,” said Hanning who is averaging 20 points a game. “We’re a third quarter team, that’s where we usually put up the most points. Our goal this year is to start early in the beginning and I think we really did that this time.

“It starts on defense, that’s how we did it in the first quarter.”

Hanning, who is uncommited for college next year, hopes the Eagles can enjoy similar success to last season.

“We know it’s going to be harder because everyone is going to be coming at us this year, but I think we’re actually better this year because we got more chemistry and we’ve moved up a division so it’s going to be harder.”

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