The plight of Orange Lutheran boys' basketball team over the last month has been almost epic. Their star player, Arizona-bound guard Gabe York, got appendicitis and the team -- ranked No. 2 in Orange County at the time -- went into the tank on the scoreboard. The Lancers lost seven of nine, including five in a row. All those were to terrific teams, including the last three to the top three-ranked teams in the state, Mater Dei, Long Beach Poly and Los Angeles Loyola.
But OLu (15-9, 5-4) got a shot in the arm on Tuesday that quelled the hemorrhaging. The Lancers avenged a loss to JSerra with a 66-51 Trinity League victory in San Juan Capistrano. The Lions won the first meeting, 67-52, in the second game that OLu played without York. It's no ordinary nine-loss team.
This contest was interesting because the score was close, JSerra holding a 47-46 lead, until OLu's late push that allowed it to forge a third-place tie with the Lions. Notable is that York didn't make a field goal until fewer than four minutes remained in the third quarter. He finished with a modest 12 points. However, Payton Banks scored 24 and Darien Williams scored 21, including 11 in the fourth quarter.
Nobody on JSerra (16-8, 5-4) reached double-figure scoring.
OLu ends the regular season hosting second-place St. John Bosco on Thursday; Bosco won the last meeting, with York out of the OLu lineup, 80-73.
JSerra finishes at Mater Dei, the No. 1 team in the state.