No Cakewalk, but Brea Wins


The Brea Olinda boys’ basketball team left the Anaheim Convention Center Wednesday night clinging to its No. 9 county ranking. But its 76-70 victory over Mission Viejo in the opening round of the Anaheim Tournament added to the notion that the gap between the haves and have-nots in the county has narrowed even further this season.

Mission Viejo (3-5) gave the Wildcats (4-2) all they could handle.

“Just about every team in the county, with the exception of Mater Dei, can beat any other team at any given time,” Brea Coach Bob Terry said. “In fact, you could do a top 25 and anything could happen on any given night.”

Brea was on the verge of breaking open Wednesday’s game several times but never looked quite in sync. That may have had something to do with the fact that the Wildcats were playing without point guard Curtis Levine, who is out indefinitely with a hip injury.


Erik Geisler started in Levine’s spot and played well with eight points, while showing unusualpoise for a sophomore. Guard Landon Lewis led all scorers with 22 points; teammate Ryan Moore had 21 points and eight rebounds, and guard Ryan Wilber had eight points and eight assists.

Mission Viejo was led by Travis Niesen, with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and guard Francis Ireifej, with 16 points and five assists.

“Our kids know they can play with anyone on almost any level,” Mission Viejo Coach Jeff Cunningham said. “We have our guys almost there, we just need to get a win against one or two of these ranked teams.”

Cunningham said perennial top-10 teams like Brea seem to find that little extra they need to beat teams that haven’t had quite as much success.

“It’s a mental toughness that they always know they can step it up because it’s expected of them,” Cunningham said.

Brea outscored the Diablos, 23-14, in the second quarter, but Mission Viejo hung tough and trailed, 68-64, with 1:21 left in the game following a three-point play by Ireifej.


No. 8 Villa Park 67, Santa Ana 52--Matt MacGinnis made eight three-pointers and scored 31 points for the Spartans (5-1). Santa Ana (3-3) was led by 26 points from Darnell Graham, who did most of his work inside the key.