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Prep Basketball : Sea View League Roundup : Saddleback Starts Fast, Holds On

Times Staff Writer

Such are the sweet times, hoop-wise, at Saddleback High School these days that the big concern is that the team might be too good for its own good.

Friday, Saddleback beat Sea View League rival Tustin, 61-48, in front of 1,200 at home. The Roadrunners got out to a big lead by playing a near flawless first quarter, then nearly blew that lead and then had the fortitude and talent to build the lead again.

“We have to learn how to play with a big lead,” said Pat Quinn, Saddleback’s coach.

Well, if you’re going to have a problem, that’s a problem to have.

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Saddleback is 18-1, 3-1 in league, and ranked No. 1 in Orange County. But it has had a history of blowing big leads this season, most recently last week’s game against Estancia in which Saddleback led by 18 but had to hold on for a 3-point victory.

Friday, Saddleback had a 21-3 lead after the first quarter. His team rich in quickness and athleticism, Quinn is able to use an aggressive, overplaying defense that produces turnovers and in turn, points.

“We depend on our defense to feed our offense,” Quinn said.

Saddleback forced 7 turnovers in the first quarter, 5 of those were steals and 4 led directly to baskets.

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Saddleback made 7 of 12 shots from the floor and outrebounded Tustin, 12-2, in the quarter. Tustin (11-8, 1-3) didn’t get its first field goal until just 50 seconds remained in the quarter, and was having such a hard time bringing the ball up court that it attempted just 4 shots.

But, by halftime, Tustin had cut the lead to 29-23, outscoring Saddleback, 20-8, in the second quarter, and outrebounding Saddleback, 7-2.

Saddleback’s lead was cut to 4 points, 36-32, with 3:30 left in the third quarter when Jason Moore converted a layup.

But then came 3 Saddleback steals and 4 consecutive baskets that gave it a 44-32 lead by the end of the third quarter.

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A 15-7 run by Saddleback in the first 4 minutes of the fourth quarter built the lead to 59-39 after which the game went into a sort of cruise control.

In all, Saddleback had 14 steals and forced Tustin into 23 turnovers.

Sean Simon had 18 points for Saddleback, Crain Marshall had 17 and Malru Dottin 11.

Tustin’s Dylan Steiler scored a game-high 23 points, picking up the slack for guard Cheavly Ly (19 points a game), who was benched in the first half for disciplinary reasons. Ly played in the second half, scoring 7 points.

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Estancia 65, Corona del Mar 52--Mike Curtis scored 26 points to lead host Estancia (16-2, 3-1). The Eagles led, 16-11, at the end of the first quarter and 31-20 at halftime. Augustin Heredia scored 18 points for Estancia. Matt Herrington and Matt Cwiertnia each scored 13 points for Corona del Mar (11-6, 2-2).

University 63, Newport Harbor 57 (OT)--Dave Dieter made 6 of 7 free throws in overtime for University (7-11, 2-2) at Newport Harbor. In the fourth quarter, University led, 53-50, but Craig DeBusk made a 3-point field goal with 1 second left to send the game into overtime. Dieter scored 19 points and Stephan Mumaw 16 for University. Chris Lee scored 20 points and Paig Parish 17 for Newport Harbor (11-8, 0-4).


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