Mission Viejo's Michael Cramer (2) and Orange Lutheran's Antwon Johnson (22) fight for a rebound as the ball flies out of bounds in the CIF-SS Division 1A basketball final Saturday.
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Orange Lutheran edges Mission Viejo for title


ANAHEIM – Orange Lutheran moved up from Division 4AA to 1A this season.

Different division, same result.

Orange Lutheran beat Mission Viejo, 64-58, Saturday in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1A championship game at Anaheim Stadium.

Lutheran won its first CIF-SS boys basketball championship last season, in Division 4AA. Under the section’s system that moves most successful teams to higher divisions, the Lancers climbed several rungs of the ladder to 1A, and wound up at the top of 1A.

Gabe York led Lutheran with 28 points. York, a 6-foot-3 senior who signed with Arizona, scored a variety of ways --- outside shots, pull-up jumpers in the lane, drives and one of the fiercest dunks one could see a high school player throw down.

Lutheran defeated Windward of Los Angeles in last year’s 4AA final. York said Mission Viejo brought a more difficult, and more physical, challenge.

“This team was a lot better and lot more physical,” York said. “We’d never dealt with a team like this before.”

The season continues this coming week for Orange Lutheran (21-10) and Mission Viejo (27-4) with the CIF Southern California Regionals, the qualifying tournament for the CIF State Championships.

Regionals seedings (called “travel priority numbers”) and first-round pairings will be released Sunday, with first-round games Wednesday. Teams with the top travel priority number will be at home through the Regionals until the finals, which are at Citizen’s Business Bank Arena and at Colony High in Ontario.

A 10-0 run early in the first quarter gave Lutheran a 14-2 lead. The Lancers had a 22-14 at the end of the first quarter.

York scored 10 points in the first quarter, and had 13 points at halftime. The Lancers got some additional scoring from an unusual source --- senior reserve guard Jared Carver, averaging five points a game, scored 10 in the first half including two 3-point conversions.

Mission Viejo uncaged its running game in the second quarter, in which they outscored Lutheran 18-15, to trim the Lancers’ lead to 37-32 at halftime. Max Redfield and Evan Zeller led the charge with six points each. And, as Lutheran coach Chris Nordstrom had feared they would, the Diablos started to take over the rebounding battle and had 11 offensive rebounds in the first half.

The Diablos continued their surge in the third quarter, and trailed by four points going into the fourth. A 3-pointer by Michael Cramer, who led the Diablos with 16 points, gave Mission Viejo the lead, 50-49, with 6:32 remaining, the Diablos’ first since they scored the game’s first basket. But York converted a 3-point play to return the lead to Lutheran for good.

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