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ROSE PALMISANO, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Ocean View's Kendall Samll puts up a shot against Loara during the second half Wednesday night.

Sophomore duo saves Ocean View from collapse

OCVARSITY.COM

HUNTINGTON BEACH – Ocean View coach Tim Walsh appreciates an early double-digit lead as much as the next coach. But he doesn't trust them.

The Seahawks' 82-68 victory on Wednesday night against Loara at Ocean View High was Exhibit B from this week alone.

"Sometimes high school basketball players have a tendency to pull a little bit off when they're up," said Walsh, whose team on Monday surrendered a double-digit lead and lost to Huntington Beach.

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OCVarsity Hot Shots: Wednesday's games

Hot Shots Overtime: Wednesday's games

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"It's weird as a coach, you'd rather be up than down, but when you're playing a good basketball team, they're not going to quit."

Loara came back strong after falling behind by 16 points in the clash between Golden West League unbeatens. The Saxons (16-6, 4-1) went on a 20-7 run in the third quarter, capped off by a 3-pointer by forward Isaiah Merrill to make it 52-49.

Fortunately for Ocean View (14-6, 5-0), the play of sophomores Kendall Small and Tyler Burch belies their age. Burch made a 3-pointer and layup and Small drove in for another layup on successive possessions to extend the lead to 10.

Small scored 11 more points in the fourth quarter to finish with a game-high 24 points. Burch had 20.

"We ask them to do a lot," Walsh said of the sophomore duo. "More often than not they rise to the occasion. It's exciting to think about where they're going to be a couple years from now."

Ocean View forward Dillon Reise had 16 points and guard Josh Mishler had 10.

"That was a real disappointing loss (against Huntington Beach). But this was the biggest game of the week," Walsh said. "As hard as that was to get over, I was real proud of the way they did."

Merrill led Loara with 18 points, including 13 in the third quarter. Guards Parth Patel and Deep Singh each had 14. The Saxons had won nine in a row coming in, including each of its four league games by double digits.

"We played hard," Loara coach Ed Prange said. "They just played better. We knew we'd have to play an A-plus game to win."

Contact the writer: amaya@ocregister.com


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