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PAUL RODRIGUEZ, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Tustin's Deondre Bryant reaches to control a rebound against El Toro in the Irvine World News/Gary Raya Classic. The Tillers beat the Chargers, 64-61.

Tustin does it again, rallies to beat El Toro

FOR OCVARSITY.COM

TUSTIN – Although it is relatively early in the season, Tustin is earning the reputation of a team that plays a physical brand of basketball from tipoff to the final buzzer.

Nick Hornsby and Deondre Bryant both accounted for double-doubles as No. 6 Tustin overcame a 14-point, third-quarter deficit to claim a 64-61 overtime victory over No. 9 El Toro Friday night in pool play of the Irvine World News/Gary Raya Classic at Tustin High.

The Tillers improved to 8-0, with four of those victories coming as a result of second-half comebacks. El Toro is 9-2.

"We locked down a heck of a lot better in the second half," Tustin coach Richard Bossenmeyer said. "We let (Cody White) get a lot of open shots in the first half, so we challenged each other at halftime to do a heck of a lot better job."


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Tustin will face Dana Hills in the tournament's third-place game Saturday at 4:30 at Concordia University.

Tesoro and Mission Viejo will meet in the championship game at 6:15 p.m.

After watching White score 19 points by halftime, Bossenmeyer assigned point guard Xavier Powell to guard El Toro's sharpshooter in the second half.

"(Xavier) knows how to guard," Bossenmeyer said. "He wants to guard, and he made it rough on him."

White accounted for only four field goals after the defensive switch, which allowed Tustin to slowly chip away at the Chargers' lead.

The Tillers entered the fourth quarter trailing by nine, but fought back to pull within a basket with just under a minute left in regulation. A hard drive to the basket earned Hornsby a trip to the free-throw line with 38 seconds remaining. Hornsby sank both free throws to tie the score at 58.

Both teams missed potential winning shots, sending the game into overtime.

In overtime, El Toro shot just 1 for 9 from the field, with six of the misses coming from beyond the arc.

Hornsby and Bryant scored all six points for the Tillers in overtime. Horsnby finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Bryant added 18 points and 10 boards.

White was held to nine points in the second half, and finished with a game-high 28.


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