Santa Clara High School rode a 16-2 scoring spree in the second quarter to a convincing 78-54 victory over Orange Lutheran in the Southern Section 2-A boys’ championship game Saturday in the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
Santa Clara (23-3) shot 57% from the field and limited Orange Lutheran to its lowest point total of the season with pressure man-to-man defense to give 31-year veteran Coach Lou Cvijanovich another sectional title.
It was the 10th basketball title for Cvijanovich and his 13th overall, including two in football and one in baseball. This one might have been his easiest.
Santa Clara made 19 of 30 shot attempts in the first half and had a 45-22 lead at halftime. Center Bubba Burrage made three consecutive shots as the Saints opened a 35-17 lead midway through the second quarter and Orange Lutheran never recovered.
“I don’t think we’ve ever played any better than in the second quarter,” Cvijanovich said. “We saw the stats at halftime and it was amazing.”
Orange Lutheran, which had averaged 84.6 points a game during a 23-4 season, had only one starter who played well--forward Daryl Cole (22 points). Center Pat Bagatourian struggled for 13 points.
“We got our butts kicked,” said Jerry Simmons, Orange Lutheran coach. “How can you explain it? I had the same feeling in 1978 (a 69-59 loss to Pasadena Poly in the Small Schools championship game).
“The basket seemed as if it were hanging out there in the middle of the air and the ball wouldn’t go in. It got out of hand, and it’s a long way back.”
The basket might as well have been hanging on the Harbor Freeway. The Lancers misfired frequently from the field, making 32% after averaging 55% all season. Bagatourian, a 62% shooter, made only two of 10 shots.
“We caught them on a bad day and they caught us on a very good day,” Cvijanovich said. “If the game was played somewhere else, the score may be different.”
The most impressive player among Santa Clara’s talented starters was 6-foot-5 junior forward Shon Tarver. Tarver led all scorers with 23 points, making 10 of 17 from the field. He also blocked three shots.
“I’ve been in Ventura County for 36 years and saw Keith Wilkes play at Santa Barbara,” Cvijanovich said. “He compares with Keith Wilkes at a similar stage in their careers. He’s a very talented 16-year-old.”
Santa Clara’s distinct size advantage and deceiving quickness was the difference. If that wasn’t enough, point guard Kasha Clemons played his best game of the season, scoring six points and getting three assists.
There was some consolation for Orange Lutheran, however. The Lancers are expected to earn an at-large entry in the Southern California Division IV regionals beginning Tuesday. Santa Clara gets an automatic berth by winning the title.