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Sonora battles back, grabs share of league lead
FULLERTON – Sonora coach Mike Murphy’s boys basketball teams have had a lot of success. The Raiders have won 15 of a possible 26 Freeway League titles in Murphy’s time with the school, including the last three.
With experience like that, Sonora didn’t panic when it lost two of its first three league games. Nor did it do so when it trailed Troy by 12 midway through the third quarter Friday night.
Kevin Marlow made the go-ahead shot with 29 seconds remaining, and Sonora went on to defeat the Warriors, 68-64, in a league game at Troy.
The score was tied at 64 when Marlow (22 points) received the ball. He dribbled into the right corner before fading away for an 18-foot jumper.
“The jump shot was working for me all day,” Marlow said. “In the clutch, I decided to go with what I’m comfortable with, and it worked out.”
Sonora (16-9, 6-2) moved into a tie for first with Buena Park after Sunny Hills edged the Coyotes, 60-58, Friday in overtime. It has been an upward climb for the Raiders to get into championship contention with the league exhibiting great parity.
“It’s been a battle,” Murphy said. “I’ve been in this league for 26 years, and I don’t know that it has ever been so balanced.”
The Warriors (14-11, 5-3) led, 46-34, in the third quarter when the Raiders made their run. Austin Carter’s 13 second-half points led the charge. His offensive putback with 4:55 remaining capped a 22-8 run that gave Sonora the lead, 56-54.
Bryce Rutledge added 10 points, seven rebounds, four steals, and four assists for the Raiders. Semir Shafi (13 points) and Collin Lee (12 points) led Troy, but they turned to point guard Aaron Yoo late. Yoo hit all four of his free throws in the fourth, including a pair that tied it before Marlow’s heroics.
“That was a dagger,” Murphy said. “The most courageous player on the court was Kevin Marlow tonight.”