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Crean Lutheran keeps climbing, topples No. 6 Foothill
SANTA ANA – Everything added up to a landmark boys basketball game at Foothill High on Friday night.
The “Dungeon” crowd’s “white out” and enthusiasm fueled the tenacity on the court, and Crean Lutheran stole the show and made its mark on the Orange County basketball scene.
Crean Lutheran rode a 17-5 run in the third quarter to knock off No. 6 Foothill, 61-57, in a tight road game to close out each team’s nonleague schedule.
“We’ve been working all year trying to get to this,” Crean Lutheran senior Brett Kittelsen said. “We’re playing fast. We’re playing together. We got out and ran.”
Both teams came out aggressive in a back-and-forth, adrenaline-fueled first half.
After leading, 29-26, at halftime, Foothill (12-4) retook the lead, 34-33, on a Brooks Mallory 3-pointer early in the third.
On the other end, Kittelsen was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three shots. Crean (11-3) got a stop, and Kittelsen was fouled again on a 3-pointer. Kittelsen made all six free throws in the sequence to jump-start the Saints’ 17-5 run.
“When there’s the most pressure, he steps up every single time,” Crean Lutheran coach Josh Beaty said. “It’s unbelievable.”
Michael Bagatourian, a 6-foot-6 forward, kept driving the lane for scores and Kittelsen added a 3 as Crean opened an 11-point lead at the end of the third quarter.
“We started running more,” Kittelsen said, “and when they slowed us down, we got it inside to our big guys.”
Foothill made a push in the fourth. However, Crean hit 9 of 11 free throws, including three by Even Kittelsen.
Brett Kittelsen led all scorers with 22. Bagatourian had 18.