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Orange County All-Star Basketball : Mansfield Beats South With Free Throws in OT

Times Staff Writer

There has certainly been a better collection of talent in the Orange County boys’ all-star basketball game in recent years, but Saturday night’s 20th edition of the postseason game was one of the most exciting since the event was conceived in 1965.

El Dorado guard Jim Mansfield made two free throws with 13 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the North to a 98-96 win over the South in front of 1,650 fans in Orange Coast College’s Peterson Gym.

It was only the second overtime game in the series, and the North narrowed the South’s series lead to 12-8. It was also the North’s fourth victory in five years.

It didn’t hurt the North when game officials moved perennial power Mater Dei out of the South. Monarch Coach Gary McKnight, who has posted an 86-5 record over the past three years, had the luxury of having three of his players on the North team, although star player Tom Lewis was reduced to a role of hand slapping players on the bench.

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With Lewis nursing a sprained ankle, it was up to teammates Mike Mitchell and Mike Kelly and a little help from Servite’s Matt Honikel to give the North the win. Honikel, who will attend Chapman College in the fall, led all scorers with 21 points. He made 8 of 13 field goal attempts and 5 of 6 free throws and added 10 rebounds.

Mitchell didn’t shoot particularly well (6 of 18 from the field) but had 17 rebounds. Kelly, who was a role player for the Monarchs with Mitchell and Lewis in the lineup, added 16 points.

The South countered with some excellent guard play. Mission Viejo’s Tom Desiano had 18 points and 9 assists while Adam Lockwood of Estancia added 13 points. Chuck McGavran had 12 points, including a 15-foot jump shot with 19 seconds remaining in regulation that sent the game into overtime at 90-90.

The North opened a 94-90 lead in overtime when Mitchell scored on a tipin and Honikel added a follow shot. But Lockwood tied the game, 94-94, for the South with a jump shot and the game remained close until Mansfield made his two free throws.

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“The one thing I didn’t want was to get blown out,” South Coach Jerry DeBusk of Newport Harbor said. “I was hoping the game would be a positive experience for the players and that the fans would be treated to a good show. I think the fans saw that Orange County basketball is exciting.”

The North had biggest lead of the game and that was only seven points at the outset as parity was the name of the game. Except for the presence of Mitchell, a multi-talented athlete who will attend Fresno State in the fall, everyone was virtually equal in ability.

“The game kept going back and forth,” McKnight said. “I wish I could say there is a lot of coaching involved in this game, but there isn’t. There’s just a lot of good athletes out there playing for a good cause.”

Honikel, who was forced to play center for a young Servite team last season, appeared to enjoy his new role as a forward. He hit jump shots from the wing and mixed it up inside for rebounds.

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“I had to be happy with the way I played,” he said. “I got to play my natural position for a change and it was a lot of fun. I plan on working a lot on my outside shot and my dribbling this summer.”

Lockwood, who will join Honikel at Chapman, credited the North’s inside strength as the difference in the game.

“They were stronger inside and got a lot of second shots,” he said. “We missed a lot of open shots, especially in the first half. But I thought Tom Desiano made a big difference for us in the second half.”

The North had a 62-56 rebounding advantage and shot 43% from the field and 75% from the free-throw line. The South shot 41% and managed to make only 16 of 27 free-throw attempts for 59%.

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“We had trouble with them on the boards,” DeBusk said. “I thought we took advantage of our quickness at guard in the second half and Desiano penetrated awfully well. I was just glad it turned out to be a good game.”

NORTH (98)--Honikel 21, Kelly 16, Mitchell 18, Mansfield 11, Pittman 2, Bennett 6, Hakeman 6, Green 8, Crandall 6, Hendry 4.

SOUTH (96)--Schurman 11, McSweeney 9, Martin 6, Lockwood 13, McGavran 12, Walton 9, Mase 8, Judd 2, Fraser 8.

Halftime--South, 47-45.

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Regulation--Tie, 90-90.


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