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ORANGE LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Magnolia Staves Off Collapse and Wins

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

Magnolia seemed destined to self destruct Friday night. All the signs were there.

The turnovers, the blown leads, the bad decisions--it had all the markings of a big choke. But that was something Frank Henderson wouldn’t swallow.

Henderson and his 33 points propped the Sentinels up time and time again, until they were left standing with a 79-72 overtime victory over Valencia.

It left the crowd at Magnolia happy. It left the Sentinels in a tie for first place in the Orange League. And it left Coach Al Walin shaking his head.

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“This team can drive you crazy,” Walin said. “They will do some incredible things. Other times, they will do some stuff that’s truly bizarre.”

The Sentinels (13-6, 5-1) covered it all Friday.

They were great, building leads of 10 or more points three times. The last was, 50-40, late in the third quarter.

Then they were awful, turning over the ball 20 times. They made no-look, no-catch passes and sometimes let shots fly from far and away.

All of which let Valencia creep closer and, almost, steal one at the end.

The Tigers (11-7, 4-2) trailed, 68-65, when Bill Eubanks was fouled attempting a three-pointer. His three free throws tied the score with 16 seconds left.

Magnolia’s Aaron Williams then dribbled the ball off his foot, which was followed by a foul by Henderson. But Matt Arias missed the front end of a one-and-one, and the game went into overtime.

“There are some times when we we get out of control,” Henderson said. “We start shooting the first chance we get. We don’t work the ball to the guy who’s hot.”

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On Friday, that would be Henderson. He made 15 of 22 shots, of all varieties.

He scored the first basket in overtime, and then made two free throws that gave the Sentinels a 74-68 lead with 1 minute 30 seconds left.

Henderson also finished had 12 rebounds.

“His offense has been coming along of late,” Walin said. “He saved us tonight. He’s a stud.”

His supporting cast was not up to his level. Williams scored 15 points, but made only five of 16 shots. Brandon Hearvey made his first three shots, but spent most of the first half on the bench with four fouls.

Valencia’s problems were different. The Tigers got little production from Eubanks, who came into the game averaging 15 points. He scored eight.

But the Tigers hung in there on the outside shooting of Kevin Deck (19 points), who made five three-pointers, and the inside play of Mario Aguirre (16 points, nine rebounds).

In other league games:

Western 58, Brea-Olinda 41--Frank Floyd had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Jason Etter added 16 for visiting Western (15-5, 5-1), which outscored the Wildcats, 22-7, in the third quarter. Doug Horspool scored 13 points for Brea-Olinda (7-15, 1-5).

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Savanna 45, Anaheim 42--Jermaine Moore had 18 points and four three-pointers for host Savanna (8-14, 3-3). Rob Mansell had 12 points for Anaheim (5-14, 0-6).

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