York stays strong, helps Orange Lutheran advance
ORANGE - The majority of high school basketball teams in California would be completely satisfied with ending their season as CIF Sectional champions.
This Orange Lutheran team isn’t one of them - and the Lancers are two-time champs.
Less than a week removed from claiming the CIF-SS Division 1A title, the Lancers continued their decorated season with a 64-57 victory over Dorsey of Los Angeles in the first round of the CIF Southern California Division 1 Regionals on Wednesday night at Orange Lutheran.
“I told my team that our season wasn’t over,” Lancers standout Gabe York said. “As a senior, I don’t want anything less than a state title. We’ve lost to three of the teams in this tournament and we want to prove that we can beat them.
“We want revenge.”
For those who thought that York may tire from leading his squad to its second consecutive Southern Section championship, the Arizona-bound superstar poured in 35 points, including Orange Lutheran’s final 11, to lift the hosts over a capable Dons squad.
“I don’t know how much longer we’re going to have Gabe,” Lancers coach Chris Nordstrom said. “But I’ll tell you what, it’s been so much fun watching him play.”
Clinging to a two-point lead at the start of the fourth, Orange Lutheran (22-10) came away scoreless on its first five possessions as Dorsey (27-8) capitalized with a 5-0 run to claim its largest lead of the game.
After a Payton Banks 3-point play pulled the hosts even, Darien Williams and Banks pushed the Lancers back ahead with consecutive 1-of-2’s from the free-throw line.
“When we got down in the fourth quarter I just looked at my team and told them not to hang their heads,” York said. “I said that we needed to keep our confidence and that if we did, we’ll be fine.”
With the Lancers once again holding a two-point advantage, York began his tear.
He made a 3-pointer (one of a half dozen by the senior), had a second-chance lay-up and a fastbreak layup, all over the next minute as Orange Lutheran seized a lead it wouldn’t surrender.
“This kind of tournament has an interesting dynamic,” Nordstrom said. “It’s hard to stay focused when you win a CIF title and you saw that a bit tonight.
“There are a lot of good teams in this tournament too and we’re just going to have to continue to battle.”
Williams (15 points, 12 rebounds) and Banks (10 points, 10 rebounds) each had double-doubles for the Lancers.