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Two late blocked shots help Loara turn back Santa Ana

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

SANTA ANA – Loara came from behind to defeat Santa Ana, 42-39, Friday night in a Golden West League boys basketball game at Santa Ana.

Down by one point with 6.6 seconds on the clock, Santa Ana (12-12, 4-4) had one chance at a game-winner. It never got off a shot. Loara (12-13, 6-2) stymied the Saints with its defense, blocking two shots on Santa Ana’s final possession.

Santa Ana forward Omari Anderson inbounded the ball from half court. His pass floated high over the defense, as if in slow-motion, and landed perfectly in the hands of center Antonio Nario under the basket. Loara senior forward Aaron Lopez flew in at full speed and slammed the ball out of Nario’s hands, sending it out of bounds.

“I lost him for a second. I didn’t know where he was at,” Lopez said of Nario. “I felt like I was playing safety or something. I just had to recover as fast as I could.”

After another block on the second inbounds, the ball bounced out of bounds – Saxons ball, with one second left.

Lopez, who scored a game-high 16, including nine in the fourth quarter, knocked down two final free throws.

Loara gained its first lead with five minutes left in the game. Santa Ana got off to a 9-2 start after one quarter, and Loara slowly clawed its way back.

Senior point guard Justin Trinidad contributed 13 points to the Saxons' total. Junior guard Adrian Moldovan had 10 rebounds and four steals, both game-highs.

Senior forward Adrian Cruz led the Saints with 11 points. Nario added 10 with a team-high seven boards.


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