May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Strong fourth quarter leads Santa Ana boys basketball team to 50-35 league win over crosstown rival Saddleback

Santa Ana sophomore guard Saay Silva drives the ball to Saddleback’s paint. The guard had a 17-point performance against the Roadrunners.

A 31-point second half and a solid run in the final minutes of the game catapulted the Santa Ana Saints to a 50-35 road win over the Saddleback Roadrunners in an Orange Coast League game Wednesday night.

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

With 17 points from sophomore guard Saay Silva, and 13 points from senior forward Jésus Silva, Santa Ana was able to record its second league win of the season.

“I think we shared the ball well (tonight). We played well on defense. We are getting better as a team and in spite of being young, I feel like we’re getting there,” said the Saints Saay Silva.

The Saints (9-11, 2-1) came into the contest with a 2-3 record in their last five games and in need of a Orange Coast League win to keep up the pace with the rest of the competition. Another incentive was the prolonged rivalry between the two schools that had been put on hold up until this year when both institutions are coinciding once again in the same league.

A 13-2 lead in the first quarter gave the impression that the Saints would not have a problem of achieving that goal.

“They (Saddleback) came after it in the second quarter. We had a good first quarter. Second half they really turned it around and made a really close game out of it and then we pulled away in the fourth,” said Santa Ana Coach Fareed ElMasry.

“I hope we are improving. We had a bad Christmas Tournament unfortunately, but I think we learned a lot about ourselves and I think it toughened us up for the upcoming league games.”

Meanwhile, the Roadrunners (2-16, 0-3) found the pride they needed in a rivalry game and were able to inch in to just a 32-25 deficit going into the fourth quarter.

“I think the game started out slow for us, but we managed to fight back before the end of the first half and make it a more competitive game. I think they (Santa Ana) picked it up and kind of changed the momentum,” said Saddleback Coach Christopher Emaguna. “I’ll be waiting to see them back home on the 31st. I think all three levels were really exciting today for us, and they were in for it all day. I definitely think that being a rivalry game really helped.”

However, the home team was not able cash in on opportunities and went cold shooting when the game was on the line.

It was in the last stanza that both of the Silvas were clutch for Santa Ana. It was Jésus Silva who stepped up with eight of his points in the final five minutes of the game. Saay Silva and teammate Drew Ramirez were the ones controlling clock to lead the Saints to a hard-earned victory as play heated up between the two rivals.

“The final score does not dictate the flow of the game. It was a whole lot closer than that. Very chippy game,” added ElMasry, the Santa Ana coach.

In terms of expectations for the rest of the season, Saddleback’s Emaguna hopes for the Roadrunners to get enough victories to close the season on a high note.

“We are 0-3 right now so our expectations are to try to at least get two or three more wins before the season is done, but my main thing is just the guys improving game to game and practice to practice, and we’ve been doing that the last few weeks,” he said. “We’ve been a little more patient and handled the pressure a little easier.

On Friday, Santa Ana will play host to Calvary Chapel, while Saddleback will play league leading Costa Mesa.

-Fernando M. Donado, OC Sports Zone