Men's basketball team plays Saddleback tough, loses in final

Courtesy of On My Game Photography
Courtesy of On My Game Photography

Irvine Valley's men's basketball team battled right with the top team in the state on Saturday afternoon.

And the Lasers led by as many as nine points in the first half before seeing Saddleback take over in the second half and win, 60-52.

Irvine Valley won two of three games in the tournament and knocked off two teams that were ranked in the top 15 in the state.

The Lasers nearly made it a third on Saturday. IVC was ahead by as many as 10 points in the opening half against the Gauchos.

Irvine Valley was up, 26-17, after sophomore guard Mike Turner made a jumper with 6:59 left in the first half.

And IVC led, 28-20, after two free throws by Turner with 5:27 left in the half.

But Saddleback rallied and out-scored Irvine Valley, 11-3, the rest of the half.

Two straight layups by guard T.J. Shorts pulled Saddleback even at 31-31 at the break.

Freshman forward Lance Coleman II made one of two free throws early in the second half to give Irvine Valley a 32-31 lead.

But Saddleback took the lead on a three-pointer by Nick Crankshaw with 17:03 left in the game.

Turner answered with a basket with IVC to make it a 34-34 game, but then Colin Ferrier scored and Shorts made a layup and added two free throws to put Saddleback ahead, 40-34, with 12:12 remaining.

The Gauchos grew their lead to as many as 12 points in the second half.

Irvine Valley got within six points the rest of the way.

The Lasers shot just 31.8 percent (14 of 44) from the field in the game. Saddleback shot 51.3 percent (20 of 39).

Sophomore guard Zuri Williams and Turner led IVC with 13 points apiece.

Coleman and sophomore forward Zach Harvey added seven points each. Coleman also had a team-high nine rebounds.

Williams and Coleman were named to the all-tournament team.

Shorts was picked as the MVP of the tournament for Saddleback after scoring 25 points with five rebounds and seven assists.

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