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COMMUNITY COLLEGE MEN’S BASKETBALL : Saddleback Tops Long Beach to Win Tournament

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Saddleback showed balanced scoring as well as stamina Thursday night in beating Long Beach, 89-68, in the title game of the Rancho Santiago Holiday Tournament.

All five Gaucho starters scored in double figures and played at least 19 minutes in the second half.

Long Beach (16-5) led at the half, 37-35, and was ahead by as many as six, 45-39, early in the second half.

The Gauchos then went on a 12-0 run, which included four points each by Josh Borella and Antoine Jefferson.

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Jefferson, who had 19 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, was selected as the tournament’s most valuable player.

Long Beach figured to be tired after winning a four-overtime thriller, 117-115, over Rancho Santiago Wednesday. But it was Saddleback Coach Bill Brummel who tested his starters’ endurance.

Except for one brief substitution, the starters--Jefferson, Borella, Derrick Walsh, Tes Whitlock and Eric Ambrozich--played the first 19 minutes 3 seconds of the second half.

“It wasn’t that fast-paced a game,” Brummel said. “So I figured we were all right with what we had out there.”

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Walsh, a sophomore guard, was 10 of 14 from the field and finished with a game-high 23 points.

Long Beach did make a late run, cutting the Saddleback lead to six, 69-63, with 3:45 left.

But the Gauchos got baskets from Whitlock and Jefferson and two free throws from Borella to go up, 75-63, with 2:41 left.

Borella had 10 points and 10 assists, Whitlock had 18 points and Ambrozich had 12 points for Saddleback, which opens Orange Empire Conference play Wednesday at Fullerton at 7 p.m.

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In the third-place game:

Mt. San Antonio 71, Rancho Santiago 70--Brian Sherman made a five-footer along the baseline as time ran out for Mt. San Antonio (7-9). Rancho Santiago (12-5) had taken a 69-68 lead on a rebound basket by Juan Castro with 11 seconds left. Sean Amos and Vlad Nieto had 15 points each for Rancho Santiago.


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