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Prep Basketball : Olympic League Roundup : Orange Lutheran Again Defeats Whittier Christian

Upset is a term usually reserved for a victory by an underdog. But to use it for Orange Lutheran’s 76-68 boys’ basketball victory over Olympic League rival Whittier Christian Friday at Orange Lutheran would be a misnomer.

Sure, the Lancers had lost to the Heralds 10 of the previous 11 games in the past 5 seasons. And Whittier Christian has won six consecutive league titles, although last season it tied with Orange Lutheran for the championship. But a changing of the guard is in the making.

Last season the Lancers won the second of their two games against the Heralds.

The Lancers’ improvement has continued. Early this season, they nearly knocked off Capistrano Valley and forced Long Beach Wilson to double overtime before they lost. Clearly, Orange Lutheran would challenge the Heralds this season.

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No surprises then about the two consecutive home victories by the Lancers over the Heralds? “No, I’m not surprised,” Lancer Coach Jerry Simmons said. “Whenever you put 10 basketball players on the court, anything can happen. I didn’t know we’d gel together like we have.”

So does the Lancer victory qualify as an upset?

Said Simmons: “It’s not really an upset. (It’s) just two good teams that met each other and battled back and forth. We just happened to be the one who had the most points at the end.”

After a 17-17 first quarter, the Lancers built a lead of as much as 7 on Daryl Cole’s basket with 5 minutes 38 seconds left in the half. Cole, a 6-foot 4-inch junior, led the Lancers with 20 points.

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Orange Lutheran stretched its lead to as many as 13 on three occasions late in the third quarter and was up 65-55 in the fourth after a basket by Pat Bagatourian (19 points).

“I was real happy we were able to maintain our lead and stop their drives when the came back,” Simmons said.

The Heralds closed to within two twice early in the fourth quarter, but were unable to take the lead.

“I’ve felt right from the beginning of the season they’d be one of the best teams in the league,” said Bob Brown, first-year Whittier Christian coach. “They’ve proved they are a quality team.”

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The Lancers, rated No.2 in the Southern Section 2-A, improved their record to 12-3 overall and 5-0 in league play. Whittier Christian is 10-4, 3-1.

Ontario Christian 59, Santa Margarita 58 (OT)--Mike Guevara made a 3-pointer to tie the score, 55-55, with about a minute left in regulation for Santa Margarita (5-8, 0-4), but the Eagles missed a shot as time ran out in overtime. Freshman Dan Bathey had 19 points and Jeff Layne 15 for Santa Margarita.


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