May 17, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Saints head coach goes out with a win in Santa Ana Prep Basketball Showcase

Santa Ana Coach Fareed ElMasry with his players (from left) Xavier Valdovinos, Deaven Perez and Ronnie Brewer Friday night. (Photos: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone).

It was a fitting end for Santa Ana High School boys head basketball coach Fareed ElMasry.

ElMasry, the Saints head coach for the past 13 years, this week stepped down from his coaching duties, so he could spend more time with his wife and two young children.

On Friday night at the Santa Ana Prep Basketball Showcase, sponsored by the RAYA Foundation, ElMasry got to coach the Home All-Star team to a 69-45 victory over the Away All-star team at Godinez High.

The players, selected by their coaches, consisted of the top seniors from the six Santa Ana Unified School District High Schools. ElMasry’s squad consisted of all All-Stars from Santa Ana, Santa Ana Valley and Saddleback high schools. The Away team was coached by Brandon Rodgers (Segerstrom) and was made up of All-Stars from Century, Godinez and Segerstrom High Schools.  

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

“It’s a great way to go out,” said ElMasry, who indicated he would remain at Santa Ana as a math teacher. “We wanted to have fun and we wanted to blow them out and we did.”

Lesly Joseph (Saddleback) led the Home team with 13 points and Ronnie Brewer (Santa Ana) added 10 points.

“It was an honor and a great experience to play in a game like this and we wanted to give coach one last ‘W,” said Brewer.

Joseph agreed.

“It means everything to win this game for the fans, friends and family,” Joseph added. “And for me, it was one last time with my boys.”  

The Home team jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead in the opening quarter, but the Away team made a nice run in the final two minutes of the quarter and cut the lead to 11-10 after the first quarter.

Brewer, Gio Barajas (Santa Ana Valley), Peter Vargas (Santa Ana Valley) and Joseph each drilled a 3-pointer in the second quarter as the Home team built a 33-22 halftime lead. 

Joseph and Alex Mena (Saddleback) helped the Home team outscore the Away team 19-10 in the third quarter and increased its lead to 52-33 after three quarters. They cruised to an easy victory from that point.

“It’s amazing, we wanted to win it for coach,” said Deaven Perez (Santa Ana), who scored seven points. “This win will last forever.”

Dillan Carrillo (Godinez) led all scorers with 15 points. Jonathan Simon (Century) also had 10 points for the Away team and had an outstanding game on the boards as he pulled down 13 rebounds.

Coach Rodgers (Segerstrom) told his Away team to enjoy the game.

“This was all for fun, that’s what I told them before the game,” said Rodgers. “This type of game gives our Santa Ana kids an opportunity to showcase their talents. It didn’t matter if we won or lost. It was important that they had fun and enjoy it.”

ElMasry said his decision to step aside was a difficult one, but the right move.

“It was a really difficult decision to leave, said ElMasry. “We had a good season and we have a lot of guys coming back next season and we’re going to have a great team. I don’t think I’m retiring, just stepping aside for now. I have two young children and I want to spend more time with them and the family.”

ElMasry also said the all-star game was a great event for the community.  

“This showcase really tells you what a great community we have in Santa Ana,” he added. “The families, the fans, the schools and the players and coaches all came out and supported this event.”

Santa Ana sophomore Jack Rivera won the 3-point shooting contest.

—Tom Connolly, For OC Sports Zone