Crean Lutheran, Bagatourian silence Sage Hill


NEWPORT BEACH – Stout interior defense, quick transitions and 27 points from Michael Bagatourian spurred sixth-ranked Crean Lutheran to a 72-51 Academy League victory over host Sage Hill on Friday.

“That’s our goal,” Bagatourian said, “to dominate both ends of the floor. We were able to space the floor and give me the ball inside. It’s exactly how we drew it up.”

Sage Hill (12-6, 4-2) opened an early 7-4 lead, but Crean Lutheran (15-4, 6-0) responded with a 15-0 run to close the first quarter.

The Saints limited the Light-ning in the paint and pushed back with running transitions and quick ball movement.

“Eventually we got two or three stops in a row and that’s what got our offense going,” Coach Josh Beaty said. “That’s what allowed us to separate there.”

Crean extended its run to 25-4 for an 18-point lead in the second quarter. In the second half, Crean continued to outpace Sage Hill by switching from inside drives to perimeter shots. The Saints hit five of their eight 3-point baskets in the second half.

Sage Hill responded with three 3-pointers and strong finishes in the lane by Chance Kuehnel, but the Lightning never got closer than 12 points in the second half.

Junior Tim Ghita put an exclamation point on the win for Crean Lutheran when he chased down a Sage Hill fast break and added to Crean’s bevy of blocked shots as time expired.

Bagatourian, Ghita and Even Kittelsen each made two 3-pointers for Crean.

Kuehnel led Sage Hill with 13 points. Dominic Sadeghi and Greg Park made two 3-pointers each for the Lightning.

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