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Santa Margarita savors playoff victory

FOR OCVARSITY.COM

SANTA ANA — After nearly two months riddled with nothing but losses, including going winless in the Trinity League, fifth-seeded Santa Margarita defeated Century, 59-26, Wednesday night in a CIF-SS Division 3AA boys basketball playoff game at Century High.

Santa Margarita coach Jeff Reinert said the playoffs were a good place for his team to atone for its league struggles.

“It’s always good to win,” he said. “I think we’ve been a good team, we just haven’t been able to get over the hump."

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The Eagles (13-14) hadn't won since beating La Sierra of Riverside on Dec. 22, but their road to redemption in the playoffs got off to a great start.

“They were excited about the opportunity to play (in the playoffs),” Reinert said. “We’re excited about our chance in the 3AA (division); we just need to come out and play hard, and we did.”

No player looked more ready than Eagles forward Joe Furstinger, who finished with game-high’s in points and rebounds with 18 and 15, respectively.

Reinert said that getting Furstinger the ball in the paint has been the focal point offensively all season long.

“We always want to throw it in to Joe,” he said. “We’ve been doing it all year, and he’s a pretty special player.”

Santa Margarita wasted no time putting itself in position to get back into the winning column, outscoring Century, 20-4, in the second quarter to take a 35-11 lead into the break.

It was more of the same for the Eagles in second half, as they continued to run their offense through Furstinger.

Devonte Klines finished with 11 points for Santa Margarita, while Ryan Merritt added seven and Tyler Strauss had six.

Branden Moreno led Century (10-18) with nine points, all coming from 3-point range, and Reasy Bory finished with six.


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