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PAUL RODRIGUEZ, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Orange Lutheran guard Chris Williams moves past North forward Ronald McQuay to score a basket in the first quarter of Tuesday's CIF Southern California Division II Regional playoff.

Orange Lutheran falters at the finish

STAFF WRITER

ORANGE – In the third quarter of Tuesday’s regional semifinal of the CIF Division II Southern California Regional, Orange Lutheran seemed to have found the formula for stopping visiting Riverside North.

The Lancers had outscored the Huskies by six to take a lead into the fourth, and more importantly stopped North’s best player, Dikymbe Martin, from scoring from the field in the third.

The feeling didn’t last long though, as the Huskies senior guard scored 10 fourth-quarter points to help hand Orange Lutheran a 54-44 season-ending loss.

“They turned the heat up a little bit and we didn’t handle it very well,” Orange Lutheran coach Chris Nordstrom said. “It just felt like the tempo of the game changed a little bit and they were able to make plays and we weren’t.”

Orange Lutheran (23-9) appeared to have all the momentum, as well as a six-point lead, going into the fourth quarter. But as Martin and the Huskies (30-4) heated up and pushed the pace of the game into a frantic full-court affair, the Lancers offense went frigid. They were outscored, 15-0, over the first six minutes of the fourth quarter for a stunning end to the season.

Martin opened the fourth with a 3-pointer and on the next possession rebounded his own 3-point miss and took it to the hole. Deshaun Highler (nine points) scored inside to give North back the lead, 39-38, with 6:25 to play and Martin finished off a breakaway on an outlet pass from Christian Gray on the next possession.

Kavaughn Scott (14 points) finally snapped the Lancers’ scoring drought on the other end with a dunk at the two-minute mark.

“We started passing the ball around more, guys were getting more open looks and it was more off passes than off the dribble,” Martin said. “(We played) full-court man (defense). We said no more zones, no more traps, just guard your man and don’t let him score.”

North opened an eight-point lead in the second quarter when Martin opened the scoring with a jumper and Westlake followed with a 3.

Chris Williams (13 points) kept Orange Lutheran in the game with three 3-pointers in the second period, including back-to-back baskets in the final two minutes of the first half to cut the Huskies’ halftime lead to 24-22.

Martin’s hot start from the field (6 for 9) made up for an otherwise lackluster 4-for-18 shooting effort from the rest of the Huskies.

Contact the writer: grizk@pe.com


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