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Chaffey Survives in Desert : Basketball: Panthers hold off rally by Antelope Valley in final minutes for 99-97 victory.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Their coach had just been released from the hospital, their star hobbled around the court a mere shadow of his playing ability and their opponent, Chaffey College, had a 22-point lead before the game was 10 minutes old.

But after a spirited comeback in front of a crazed home crowd Saturday night, an even more painful item remained for the Antelope Valley Marauders: the final score.

Despite a 20-9 run in the final six minutes, the Marauders came up just short in the Foothill Conference game, 99-97.

“What’s left of my heart goes out to my kids because of the way they played,” said Antelope Valley Coach Newton Chelette, who left an area hospital five hours before tip-off after spending 36 hours there because of chest pains.

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“If you look at it position for position, we’re not on the same court as they are. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more-talented team.”

Chelette, who will undergo further testing this week and felt weak after the game, watched quietly from the Marauder bench as assistant Brad Wiggs called the shots.

Chelette raised his voice above a whisper only once, after Orville Turner, who came into the game with a 27.2 average and an injured right instep, threw up a couple of poor shots in the first half, one that hit the side of the backboard and another that hit only air.

Turner recovered, however, and sparked the comeback. He scored 18 of his 26 points in the second half and hit two three-point shots during the Marauders’ run down the stretch, which brought them to within 92-90 with 2 minutes 13 seconds remaining.

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But the Panthers, who outrebounded Antelope Valley, 48-32, were too strong in the post, where Warren Rosegreen had 28 points and 14 rebounds. Avondre Jones, who played at USC last season, chipped in with 24 points and 15 rebounds.

A dunk by Rosegreen and a layup by Jones ended any hopes of a victory for Antelope Valley (15-6, 2-2 in conference play).

Chaffey (16-9, 5-0) raced out to a 32-10 lead by connecting on 15 of its first 17 shots, most from inside. Their two misses came from three-point range.

“We were fired up,” said Chaffey Coach George Tarkanian. "(Our) team has a chance to win the state championship.”

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