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Tustin struggles but stays unbeaten in league
TUSTIN – Coming into its second meeting with Cypress, No. 7 Tustin had run through the Empire League without the slightest hint of a test. Its smallest margin of victory was 13 points.
The Centurions changed that Wednesday night, but it still wasn’t enough as the Tillers went through the motions, offensively, but dominated defensively to claim a 39-33 victory on the school's senior night.
See photos from this game: Hot Shots Overtime
Despite the victory, Tustin coach Ringo Bossenmeyer wasn’t too pleased with how things unfolded.
“To be quite honest with you, (Cypress) deserved to win the game,” Bossenmeyer said. “Hats off to them. We pulled it out, but we have to play a heck of a lot better than we did.”
Nick Hornsby and Deondre Bryant have been the offensive stalwarts for the Tillers (23-2, 10-0) this season, but it was an unusual suspect who was key for Tustin.
George Wilson led the Tillers in scoring, along with Hornsby, with 11 points and two 3’s.
The Centurions (17-7, 6-3) played well, but were doomed by their four-point fourth quarter. Cypress led by as many as 11 in the first half and looked in control until Wilson asserted himself with back-to-back baskets.
“It was just a lot of practice,” Wilson said of his shooting effort. “Every time after practice, I go and shoot. I was just knocking down shots tonight.”
Jalen Hall and Jake Brito led the Centurions in scoring with 11 points apiece. Brito was strong on both ends of the floor with a steal on defense, which led to a fast-break layup in the first quarter to go along with a 3, one of three 3’s Cypress knocked down in the first.
Quinton Pounds contributed a strong defensive effort for the Centurions and scored eight points.
The Cypress lead was four in the fourth quarter when Xavier Powell hit a 3 to give momentum back to Tustin. Hornsby finished the Centurions off with six free throws and multiple defensive rebounds.