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KYUSUNG GONG, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Orange Lutheran's Joseph Riley, left, and Sonora's Christian Rhodes dive for the loose ball during a North O.C. Championship Tournament game at Sonora High School on Thursday.

Sonora wins at both ends

OCVARSITY.COM

Sonora's defense made the winning plays to topple No. 10 Orange Lutheran in boys basketball Thursday night.

Leading by three, the Raiders pulled off one last stop of the Lancers to claim a 57-52 victory in the quarterfinals of the North Orange County Championships at Sonora.

On Wednesday night, Sonora's offense enjoyed a 94-point outburst in a victory against M.L. King of Riverside.

“In the fourth quarter, we really stepped it up big time,” Raiders acting coach Jason Stein said of Thursday's win. “We played a little bit of zone and that threw them off balance. And in the end, our man defense came through.”

Sonora (7-2) had a four-point lead and the ball with 30 seconds left. But an Orange Lutheran steal and basket cut the lead to two. The Raiders made 1 of 2 free throws following that, which allowed the Lancers (5-3) an opportunity to force overtime.

C.J. Hankins held the ball, but could never get a clean look at the basket.

That was just one of many plays Sonora's defense came up with in the fourth. Josh Rodriguez, Ben Rico and Steven Murphy came up with steals in the final quarter to keep Orange Lutheran at bay.

Rodriguez was coming off a 41-point performance Wednesday. He followed that up with 16 points against the Lancers.

It was Sonora's third win against a Trinity League team this season. It had previously beaten Santa Margarita and Servite.

“We know the Trinity League is the toughest league in Orange County,” Stein said. “So that's really big for us, especially little Sonora from North Orange County.

“It's good to knock off the big boys.”

The Raiders take on La Mirada on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Sonora.

Canyon faces Downey in the other semifinal at 6 p.m.


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