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Servite surprises Santa Margarita in Trinity opener
ANAHEIM – Neil Pauu and his Servite teammates knew the odds.
“We’re not supposed to win this game,” Pauu said.
But crazy things can happen in a place they call “The Asylum.”
Servite, which was 0-10 in the Trinity League last year, did beat Santa Margarita, 51-43, in its home gym in the Trinity League opener for both teams Wednesday night.
The Friars (12-4 overall) never trailed. They took a 3-0 on Trevor Treinen’s 3-pointer, led by seven points at the end of the first quarter, by eight at halftime and carted a six-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Santa Margarita tied it, 36-36, in the fourth quarter on Joe Furstinger’s basketball off of an offensive rebound. Pauu and Eric Torres made back-to-back 3s, and Servite was back in control.
Servite was 11-18 overall last season. Last week, the Friars won the I-15 Tournament in the Inland Empire, their first basketball tournament victory since 2008.
“These kids believe in themselves,” Servite coach John Morris said. “We have a very balanced team.”
Pauu, a 6-foot-4 junior who was an All-Trinity League receiver for the Servite football team, scored a game-high 15 points.
Louis Juego, also a junior, scored 13 including a 3-pointer with 22 seconds remaining that gave the Friars an 11-point lead that locked the game away and sent the spirited Servite student section into celebration mode.
It was not the only clutch 3 that Juego made. Following a Santa Margarita backcourt turnover with three seconds left in the third quarter, Pauu inbounded the ball to Juego who hoisted a 3-pointer that went in at the buzzer to give the Friars a 36-30 lead going into the final eight minutes.
Furstinger scored 13 points with 11 rebounds and two blocked shots. Tyler Strauss scored 13 with two 3-pointers for the Eagles, who missed 10 of their 15 free throws.
Wednesday’s game was the season debut for Santa Margarita 6-foot junior guard Devonte Klines. Klines, who scored eight points and was the quickest player on the floor, just completed the 30-day sit-out period he was required to observe after he transferred from Valley View of Moreno Valley.
Santa Margarita (12-4) plays at home against Mater Dei in a league game Friday. Servite is at Orange Lutheran for a league game Friday.