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ANA P. GUTIERREZ, FOR THE REGISTER
Sonora players celebrate after beating Sunny Hills, 70-51, to capture the Freeway League title on Thursday night.

Sonora flips script on Sunny Hills, takes Freeway

OCVARSITY.COM

LA HABRA – When Sonora played Sunny Hills three weeks ago, Sonora's Josh Rodriguez had zero points and Sunny Hills won by 18.

"Josh had the worst game of his life," Sonora coach Mike Murphy said. "I know he had this date marked on his calendar."

Rodriguez can put a "W" on the date. This time Sonora won, by 19 points. Sonora defeated Sunny Hills, 70-51, Thursday at Sonora High to win the Freeway League championship.

The teams were tied for first place going into the game, the final regular-season game for both. Sonora finished 9-1 in league, with second-place Sunny Hills at 8-2.

Rodriguez scored six points in the first quarter and finished with 16 points. Although he is the Raiders' point guard, the 5-foot-11 Rodriguez had a game-high eight rebounds, mostly the result of being in the right place at the right time.

Travis Ryal led Sonora (24-3 overall) with 19 points. Ryal, a 6-4 senior, scored 15 in the first half and finished 8 for 11 from the field. Senior forward Jimmy Golden, still recovering from the ankle sprain he suffered in the loss to Sunny Hills, scored 12 and senior forward Andrew Talley added 11.

Max Thurman led Sunny Hills (21-7) with 21 points, including four 3-pointers. Lancers point guard Tim Ahn scored 23 points with five 3-pointers when Sunny Hills beat Sonora, but Rodriguez's defense limited Ahn to five points Thursday, including an 0-for-4 effort from 3-point range.

"I was ready to play," Rodriguez said. "The last game was embarrassing. I had to make up for it."

Sonora led from the outset. The Raiders had a 10-point lead in the first quarter, Sunny Hills reduced it to three in the second, and it was 34-24, Sonora, at halftime.

Golden hit two 3-pointers in the third quarter as the Raiders went ahead by 17. The Lancers rallied to make it a 10-point game, 46-36, going into the fourth quarter. Sonora pushed the lead to 18 early in the fourth quarter, but Sunny Hills got three consecutive 3-pointers from Thurman, Tan and Elijah Kim to cut the lead to 10 with 2:07 remaining.

Sonora outscored Sunny Hills, 11-2, in the final two minutes to win by the final 19-point margin.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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