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BOYS’ BASKETBALL : SEA VIEW LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Eagles Beat Woodbridge With Shaky Balancing Act

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Santa Margarita walked a tightrope Friday and was dangerously close to falling. But when things got tough, the Eagles’ balance showed.

Their 50-48 Sea View League victory over Woodbridge wasn’t secured until Brendan Mulligan intercepted a pass with one second left. But there was a certainty to it, at least according to Mulligan.

“We got an attitude here,” Mulligan said. “You don’t let down, you step up.”

There was a lot of that going around.

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Reserve Scott Balo ignited a third-quarter rally with a steal and a three-point shot.

Mulligan put the Eagles ahead with six points in the fourth quarter.

Center Allen Krist scored 15 points and played Chris Burgess, Woodbridge’s 6-foot-9 center, to a draw. Burgess scored 16 points, six fewer than his average.

And then the backcourt tandem of Dennis Keane and J.C. Timmons shook off poor performances to score the Eagles’ last six points and give them enough breathing room.

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It all added up to Santa Margarita’s 20th consecutive home victory, a streak covering nearly three seasons.

No sweat, right?

“We have got nine more league games,” Coach Jerry DeBusk said. “I don’t know if I can take it.”

Oh, he’ll survive. As long as the Eagles (15-1, 1-0) continue to step up.

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Things looked bleak with three minutes left in the third quarter, as the Warriors (11-6) took a 34-28 lead on a layup by Eric Ripley. Until then, Woodbridge had been the aggressor. That changed.

Balo, who had not played in the first half, stole the ball and fed Krist for a dunk. Balo then sank a three-pointer and the Eagles were down by one, 34-33, heading into the fourth quarter.

Mulligan (14 points) took over, scoring six points in three minutes. The last, a driving layup, gave the Eagles a 41-40 lead. They never trailed again.

Keane and Timmons made sure of that. Keane, who was three of 10, drove for a layup and Timmons, who was one for four, made four free throws--the last two with 25 seconds left to give the Eagles a 50-45 lead.

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It was enough to survive a three-pointer by Brian Quinn and one last Warrior possession.

Woodbridge led, 23-22, at halftime. Ripley scored nine of his 14 points in the first half and Burgess had 10. But Krist, a 6-8 junior, matched Burgess nearly point for point, scoring nine to keep the Eagles close.

“You can’t be intimidated playing against someone like Burgess,” Krist said. “He’s a really good player, but we have 14 guys who are good.”

In other league games:

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Corona del Mar 61, El Toro 57--Bryan Coleman scored 16 points to lead Corona del Mar (9-6, 1-0). The Sea Kings made 24 of 34 free throws; El Toro made seven of nine. Travis Senik led the Chargers with 14 points.

Irvine 59, Newport Harbor 46--Blair Eldridge had 18 points and A.J. Riveria had 14 points for Irvine (7-10, 1-0), which won despite being outscored 27-9 from the free-throw line. Will Rankin had 13 points for Newport Harbor (6-10, 0-1).


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