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Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Orange County and LA South: Division 4AA, Orange Lutheran 78, Windward 71

By Blair Angulo

ANAHEIM -- Sometimes it's good to be greedy.

Senior James Douglas realized it and delivered Wednesday night, scoring 27 points to help Orange Lutheran claim the CIF Southern Section Division 4AA boys' basketball title with a 78-71 win over Windward at Anaheim Arena.

Don't call Douglas selfish, though. The Northern Arizona-bound guard also led the top-seeded Lancers with nine rebounds and six assists. He wasn't about to head back to Orange without the trophy.

"When my team needs it, I get going," Douglas said. "I knew I had to be aggressive."

Douglas came out hard, scoring nine points in the first quarter as Lutheran (26-6) jumped out to a 24-6 lead. He had another eight in the second, helping the top-seeded Lancers to a 10-point advantage at the break.

"They started off real fast on us and we were opposite," Windward coach Miguel Villegas said. "We couldn't hit a shot and exerted a lot of energy to get back into this ballgame."

It was only a matter of time, Douglas said, until the second-seeded Wildcats (23-8) made their run. Windward forward Wesley Saunders believed nerves were his team's biggest issue. They had taken the court immediately after the school's girls' team celebrated its own CIF title win.

The Wildcats, behind 24 points and 13 rebounds from Saunders, climbed the mountain and assumed a 50-49 lead with less than two minutes remaining in the third. Windward went into the final quarter leading 54-51 after outscoring Lutheran 22-9 in the third.

It looked like the small school of 345 students would make it two for two in Anaheim.

"Unfortunately, we couldn't keep it up," Saunders said. "It took a lot of energy to come back. We ran out of gas."

Top junior prospect Gabe York made back-to-back threes early in the fourth to put Lutheran up for good.

"Once I hit that second one," York said, "I was feeling good about it."

Nic Stover had 19 points and 12 boards for Windward. York finished with 22.

It was only a four-point game with 49 seconds left, but Douglas nailed two clutch free throws to send Lutheran's student section into madness.

Call it his greedy, but unselfish, moment.

"This title is everything for us," Douglas said.