Godinez basketball wins showdown with Westminster to earn share of first league title since 2017 – Orange County Register

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SANTA ANA — The Godinez boys basketball did something Friday night it hadn’t done in seven years — win a league championship.

Senior Lucas Andaluz scored 15 points and the Grizzlies held off a furious rally by Westminster for a hard-fought 56-52 victory in the Golden West League at Godinez High.

“This is our first one in seven years and the first one we’ve gotten in this league, which is huge because the last one came in the Orange Coast League,” Grizzlies coach Robert Morgan said. “Lots of fighting teams in here and they’re really difficult to deal with, like Ocean View, Segerstrom. Every game is just survival and it’s just one after another like this.”

Godinez (20-6, 8-0) scored only nine points in the final quarter, and seven came from senior Israel Moreno.

Moreno, the team’s best free-throw shooter according to Morgan, lined up for a one-and-one with less than five seconds remaining after collecting a steal.

With the score 55-52, he missed the first one, which had Morgan feeling anxious before the next one.

“We go into that last spot, analyzing ‘what are we gonna do on defense.’ ” Morgan said. “We’re up by three and Israel still has one more free throw to go so he said ‘I’ll make it coach.’ And we didn’t even have to worry about defense after he hit that one.”

The Lions (13-9, 6-2), who had a chance Friday night to grab a share of first place, were led in scoring by junior Kam Johnson’s 16 points off the bench.

Johnson scored all of his points in the second half. His precise shooting from beyond the arc nearly brought Westminster back from a double-digit deficit.

“It was unexpected,” Morgan said of Johnson’s impact on the game, “but he was hitting those bombs from the corner in the second half and so that really took us out, but we survived it.”

Eric Hoang added 12 points for the Lions.

Ma’Gen Young grabbed 10 rebounds and anchored the Grizzlies defense.

Adrian Gonzalez also scored 15 points, including three 3-pointers, for Godinez while Jaiden Torres added 10 points.

Morgan praised Andaluz for his leadership during his varsity tenure.

“When we get on the court he leads us the rest of the way,” Morgan said. “This is his third year on varsity. Three years ago we had zero league wins. Last year we couldn’t get to third place and he’s back for this year and he’s really stepped up.

“He had an uncle that passed away this past summer who left him a ‘Kobe Bryant: Mamba Mentality’ book and it talks about the idea of closing, and I think it’s really been an inspiration” Morgan continued. “We actually got Mamba shirts last week where it just says ‘Mamba Mentality,’ and I think it’s really helping us get through the rest of league.”

Godinez finishes up Golden West League play with games against Katella and Garden Grove, needing just one victory to win the league title outright.



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