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January 17, 2013

Orange Lutheran knocks off JSerra

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO - San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) JSerra came into its Wednesday night matchup with Orange (Calif.) Orange Lutheran as the second-ranked team in Orange County, and looking to keep its Trinity League title hopes alive.

Unfortunately for the Lions, they ran into Penn State-bound guard Payton Banks and his game-high 34 points in No. 3 Orange Lutheran's 77-71 victory at JSerra Pavilion despite an inspired 31-point, 20 rebound performance from class of 2013 recruit Jamal Aytes.

Both teams got off to a sluggish start as the first quarter ended with JSerra holding a 12-9 lead.

The action picked up in the second period as the Lancers used a 9-2 run, capped by a Banks 3-pointer, to open the period and take a three-point advantage early in the second.

JSerra was able to find its footing toward the end of the period, taking a 28-24 lead with minutes remaining in the half, but Orange Lutheran used a 5-0 run to close out the half with a 29-28 lead.

Orange Lutheran jumped out to a 41-36 lead early in the third behind six quick points from Banks, but JSerra again rallied back, tying the game at 43 apiece with 1:30 to play before the Lancers went on yet another small run to take a 49-43 lead into the fourth.

JSerra found itself in yet another hole to begin the fourth as Orange Lutheran sophomore guard Antwon Johnson hit a corner 3-pointer and connected on a driving layup to give the Lancers their largest lead of the night, 54-47.

Aytes and class of 2014 recruit Johnnie Vassar (13 points) weren't about to let JSerra go down without a fight, however, as the duo combined for 10 straight Lions' points, bringing JSerra back within two, 59-57.

On Orange Lutheran's very next possession, Banks drove baseline with seconds remaining on the shot clock and found Johnson in the corner for three of the most important of his 13 points on the night.

JSerra center Dylan Osetkowski then answered with a quick layup, but class of 2014 prospect Brian Beard found Banks open on the left wing for a 3-pointer to give the Lancers a 65-59 lead with two minutes to play.

JSerra coach Joedy Gardner opted to extend the game with fouls, but Banks stepped up and connected on 9 of 10 free throws down the stretch to give Orange Lutheran the key Trinity League win.

JSerra's next game will be on the road against Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei on Friday, while Orange Lutheran moves on to play Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco on Monday, Jan 21.

Devin UglandDevin Ugland
GOAZCATS.com West Coast recruiting analyst

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