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Irvine pulls away to reach Katella Klassic final
ANAHEIM – Coaches often say that playing on consecutive days in a tournament makes it difficult to prepare properly to face an opponent.
Playing its third game in as many days, Irvine's boys basketball team could have used some rest, too.
After a sloppy first half, the Vaqueros (9-7) ramped up the tempo in the final two quarters to run away with a 49-26 victory over Katella in the Katella Klassic on Friday night.
"The pace that they play at allows that kind of game to happen," Irvine coach Kris Klamberg said. "They'll drop back in a zone and make us use most of the shot clock, then they'll use most of it when they have the ball.
"When that's the case it tends to be a shorter game."
The Vaqueros will face Pacifica today at 7:30 p.m. in the championship game at Katella High.
"To be honest, we've just been focused on getting better," Klamberg said. "We take each game as an opportunity to get ready for league. ... Being in the championship game is great, but we just want to keep getting better."
Ryan Soltes scored a game-high 13 points for Irvine, and Jackson Van Kirk added nine on three 3-pointers.
After the Vaqueros took an 18-17 halftime lead, Katella (5-10) remained within a basket until Irvine scored on three of its final four possessions of the third quarter.
Irvine then turned seven consecutive turnovers by the Knights into 11 unanswered points to put the game away.
"I thought we did a better job applying pressure defensively, and moving the ball against their zone on offense, in the second half," Klamberg said.
Also in the Katella Klassic:
Pacifica 65, Fullerton 47: The Mariners (9-3) outscored the Indians, 44-15, in the second and third quarters to win going away. Junior guard Brian Alvarez finished with 20 points and four of Pacifica's 10 3-pointers. Andre Quinn and Gerald Scott scored 10 apiece for Fullerton (6-11).