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Tustin basketball wins showdown with rival Foothill – Orange County Register

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TUSTIN — The Tustin boys basketball team opened up with a significant run in its nonleague game against rival Foothill on Thursday at Tustin High School.

The Knights then put together a run of their own in the third quarter, but the Tillers stayed composed, built the lead back up and came away with a 54-45 victory.

The victory is the fifth in a row for the Tillers (10-2) and third in a row against the rival Knights (6-7).

“We came into this game with a lot of energy,” said Tustin point guard Jason Naranjo, who led all players with 23 points, including five 3-pointers. “We practiced hard all week.”

Naranjo hit a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, both in response to a Foothill run.

“I’m not worried about the points as long as our team plays together as a unit and we do the things we need to do,” Naranjo said. “Doesn’t matter how many points I score, as long as the team wins. That’s all I care about it.”

Tustin closed out the first quarter on an 11-2 run and had a 20-9 lead early in the second.

The Tillers led by 14 at the half, and the Knights’ Jacob Horton scored the first four points of second half. Baskets by Braedyn Benhard and Nathan Wolf and a pair of free throws from Vincent Santras got the Knights to within nine.

Trevor Telson came off the bench for Foothill, pulled down a defensive rebound, drove the length of the court and got fouled making a difficult layup.

Telson hit the free throw to make it a six-point game heading into the fourth. But the Knights couldn’t get any closer.

“It was a tough first half,” Foothill first-year coach Yousof Etemadi said. “They came out and were tougher than us in the first half and got the crowd going. They made a lot of 3s and we missed a lot of shots early. I thought our boys battled back and gave us a chance to get back into late in the game, but they just kept on making big plays.”

The Knights are one victory away from matching the number of victories they had all of last season

“I’m really proud of the way they are working,” Etemadi said. “We’ve got a good group of seniors, but we’ve also got a good group of young kids. There is a bright future here at Foothill.”

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