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SVC keeps growing, knocks off Santa Margarita

OCVARSITY.COM

SANTA ANA - The process of putting Saddleback Valley Christian on the basketball map is well underway, and the proof was evident Friday night.

The Warriors, who entered their game against Santa Margarita in the Nike Extravaganza having won nine consecutive games, used a second-half push to make it a perfect 10, defeating the Eagles, 73-65, at Mater Dei.

SVC (20-5) outscored Santa Margarita, 43-35, in the second half.

Joe Furstinger led Santa Margarita (12-12) with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Devonte Klines and Ryan Merritt scored 13 and 12, respectively.

"Our defense played really well," SVC guard Miles Seward said. "We stepped up on defense. We tried to get a lot of turnovers and make them get out of control."

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SLIDESHOW: OCVarsity Hot Shots: Friday's basketball

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The junior guard shot 7 of 11 from the field, scoring 23 points. He also grabbed eight rebounds and added three assists. Freshman Ershad Hunt added 14 points with eight rebounds. Eric Rwahwire had 11 and Dontae Caldwell and Nick Worrell scored 10 apiece.

Devonte Klines' basket for the Eagles cut the Warriors' lead to 56-54 with 4:22 remaining. The Warriors went on a 9-4 run to take a 65-58 lead.

The Warriors are ranked seventh in the latest CIF-SS Division 5AA poll.

This is their second year under Coach Tom Lewis.

"I've been at it for 18 months and to have an opportunity to play in this environment and have the kids fight all the way through, I don't think I can ask for anything more," Lewis said of SVC's improvement. "When you start a program, getting them experience is one thing, but having them believe is another thing.

"It is nice to be talented, but you got to have experience to be able to win games like this. With about eight minutes to go, they actually started to believe in themselves and helped each other. We took a big step tonight for a young team."

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@ocregister.com


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