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Ortiz Hits Point Mark in Eagles’ Victory

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Calvary Chapel’s Joe Ortiz became one of only six players in county history to score more than 2,000 career points, leading his team to a 79-70 semifinal victory over Pasadena Marshall in the Southern Section Division IV-AA boys’ basketball playoffs at Estancia High.

Ortiz, a senior, got his 2,001st point with 40 seconds left in the game on the second of two free throws. He led all scorers with 32 points.

Third-seeded Marshall (22-6) came out from the opening tip with a strong full-court press, but second-seeded Calvary Chapel (23-6) had little trouble breaking it to take a 21-12 first-quarter lead. By the end of the first half, the Eagles had a 44-27 lead, closing out the half with an 18-5 run. Ortiz ended the half with 18 points, hitting eight of 14 from the field, including four three-pointers.

Marshall rallied in the second half, opening the third quarter with a 13-4 run. Calvary Chapel committed five turnovers and made only two of eight shots in the first seven minutes as Marshall got as close as 48-40.

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“They got hot,” Calvary Chapel Coach Craig Falconer said. “I thought we were taking good shots. They just weren’t falling.”

Calvary Chapel had a 68-54 lead with less than three minutes remaining in the game.

Feeling comfortable, Falconer began sending in his reserves. But Marshall’s Brandon Marshall hit two consecutive three-pointers and things got sloppy, prompting Falconer to get his starters back in the game.

“I was more disappointed in the last three minutes, when you can’t hold a lead,” Falconer said. “I didn’t think we played real smart. We were lucky.”

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Calvary Chapel, which has won 13 consecutive games, will play fourth-seeded Santa Maria St. Joseph in the championship March 6 at UC Irvine.

On Friday night, St. Joseph upset top-seeded Twentynine Palms, 82-74.

It will be Calvary Chapel’s second consecutive trip to the final.

They lost last year in the Division IV-A championship game to Santa Monica Crossroads, 50-41.


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