May 28, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Santa Ana boys basketball team battles back from 11-point deficit to defeat Estancia 49-48 and move into a tie for second place

Santa Ana’s Drew Ramírez (No. 31) and company celebrate after knocking off the No. 2 team in Orange Coast League Estancia Wednesday night.

It was Déjà vu all over again for the Santa Ana boys basketball team.

A week after upsetting Costa Mesa, and days after sneaking past Orange, Santa Ana dug out from an 11- point deficit after three quarters to continue its amazing run with a 49-48 Orange Coast League home victory over Estancia Wednesday night.

To see the slideshow, please click on the first photo.

With the result, both teams are now tied for second place in the Orange Coast League, and will need to stay consistent in the final three games of the season to contend with Costa Mesa (12-11,6-1) who leads the league after defeating Orange (7-18, 2-5) 81-50 on the road.

“It was a little closer than what we wanted, but we defended our turf at home and beating Estancia by one (point) after losing to them in the first game by double digits is definitely rewarding,” said Santa Ana Coach Fareed ElMasry. “We are now in the running for second place and that’s great news for us. We consider this week as revenge week as we play the two teams that have beaten us in league. Hopefully we can complete it this upcoming Friday.”

“Coaches reminded us of how hard we worked this week and we prepared for these guys. We knew it was gonna be a tough one, so we put the hard work in and we got what we deserved,” added Santa Ana’s Drew Ramirez. “We still got work to do and we have to be ready for next week.”

The Eagles (14-11, 5-2) were up 43-32 at the start of the fourth quarter with their leading scorers Jake Covey and Brandon Pearson in command. But stingy defense and clutch offense sparked the comeback for the Saints (12-12, 5-2) in front of a large crowd that was raucous in the final moments of the game.

Timely three-point shots from Ramirez and Xavier Valdovinos enabled the home team to chip away the vistors’ lead, while Estancia went cold offensively. That scoring drought allowed the Saints to outscore the Eagles 17-5 in the final stanza.

Ramirez scored all of his seven points in the fourth quarter, while Valdovinos scored nine, including a breakaway steal and scoring play that gave the Saints the lead.

Jésus Silva and Jerry Estrella also chipped in with nine points each for the Saints, while Covey (17 points) and Pearson (12 points) couldn’t go past Santa Ana’s defense in the final moments of the game.

Estancia had several opportunities to have a final scoring play, but Santa Ana was able to buckle up defensively and stood up the visitors when the game was on the line. The Saints on the other hand couldn’t convert on the front end of two one-and-one free throws situations that allowed the game to go down to the wire.

“They played great. We made a lot of mistakes at the end, and give them credit. They battled through. They are a tough team. Fareed (ElMasry) and Mo do a great job,” said Estancia Coach Xavier Castellano. “We shot too quickly (in the fourth quarter). We settled for bad shots instead of going to the basket like we were doing, and then we made two turnovers at the end. They made shots when they supposed to.”

“We always knew it was going to be tough. Santa Ana is very good. Mesa is very good team as well as all the teams in the league. We got three games left and hopefully we do our job to hopefully make our way into the playoffs.”

Up next for Estancia is Orange at home, while Santa Ana plays Calvary Chapel (8-13, 3-4) on the road. Both games will be played on Friday night.

The Santa Ana players wore gold shoe-laces to bring about awareness for pediatric cancer. The fundraiser was promoted by a social media campaign that was initiated by the Saints coaching staff.

-Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone