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    Cypress boys basketball continues push for Empire title with win over Tustin
    • January 23, 2024

    CYPRESS — Cypress boys basketball coach Derek Mitchell said his team is at its best in games played with an up-tempo pace.

    That was the case in the Centurions’ Empire League game against Tustin on Monday at Cypress High School.

    The Centurions got the ball up the court quickly and relied on the trio of Michael Wright, Jonah Kim and Ryan Gov for the bulk of the scoring in a 65-50 victory over the Tillers.

    With four league games remaining, Cypress (18-5, 6-0) remains undefeated and in first place in league play. The Tillers (14-10, 3-3) are in a third-place tie with Pacifica.

    “It’s a good start in the second half of the league for us,” Mitchell said. “Tustin is one of the top teams in our league, so we wanted to make sure we came out and get this victory so we still have a chance when we face Crean Lutheran.”

    The Saints (12-11, 5-1), who are in second place, defeated Kennedy 69-41 on Monday.

    Crean Lutheran’s only league loss this season came against the Centurions, and when the teams face off for the second time on Jan. 30 the league title could be on the line.

    Wright led all scorers with 24 points, Kim scored 17 and Gov finished with 15.

    “We all played a lot last year, so we’re all familiar with each other’s styles,” Kim said. “And then we had a good summer, and off that summer it just kind of built up … And as the games went on, leading into league, the chemistry just kept getting better and better.”

    Cypress took advantage of a slow start by the Tillers, jumping out to an 18-0 lead.

    Tustin went scoreless until the final minute of the first quarter when Brady Kong hit a pair of 3-pointers.

    The Tillers opened the second quarter on a 7-2 run to get to within 11 and Johnny Sagarino hit a 3-pointer later in the quarter to get Tustin within seven.

    But the Tillers couldn’t overcome the huge early deficit and never got any closer than seven the rest of the game.

    Cypress led, 39-31, early in the third before closing out the quarter on a 17-4 run to put the game out of reach heading into the fourth.

    Crean Lutheran went 10-0 in the Empire League in each of the past three seasons and the Centurions went 10-0 in each of the three seasons before that.

    With the Centurions expected to move to a different league next season, final bragging rights could be on the line along with the league title when the teams match up for the final time, Mitchell said.

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    ​ Orange County Register