Men's basketball team falters late in key loss to Cypress

Courtesy of On My Game Photography
Courtesy of On My Game Photography

Irvine Valley's men's basketball team let a must win game slip away late in the second half.

The Lasers were out-scored, 17-0, by Cypress over the last 8:19 and fell to the Chargers, 51-48, in an important Orange Empire Conference game Friday night at home.

Irvine Valley and Cypress were battling for fifth place in the conference standings and playoff implications were on the line.

With the win, Cypress improved to 15-12 overall and 6-9 in the Orange Empire Conference. The Chargers have one more game left in the regular season – next week against Golden West.

Irvine Valley fell to 16-10 overall and 6-8 in conference. The Lasers have two games next week, but they are tough ones. IVC is at district rival Saddleback next Wednesday and then plays host to Santiago Canyon next Friday. Santiago Canyon was ranked No. 2 in the state this week.

The Lasers looked in control midway through the second half.

After leading, 32-26, at the half, Irvine Valley opened the second half on a 8-3 run. A layup by freshman point guard JT Robinson gave the Lasers a 40-29 lead with 14:16 to play.

And Robinson increased IVC's advantage to 45-32 with a three-pointer with 8:53 to go.

Irvine Valley took its biggest lead of the game at 48-34 after another three-pointer by Robinson with 8:19 remaining.

But Irvine Valley didn't score again.

Cypress cut the IVC lead to single digits at 48-39, on a layup by Kae'jon Barnes.

And the Chargers pulled within 48-44 after a layup by Sebastian Castro with 5:02 left.

Cypress' Kaden Headington made a three-pointer to knot the score at 48 with 2:30 to play.

And Cypress took the lead for good at 50-48 on a layup by Castro with 41 seconds to go in the game.

Robinson missed a contested layup inside with 13 seconds to play and IVC was forced to foul.

Castro made 1 of 2 free throws with seven seconds to go and Irvine Valley freshman forward Colby Waite's three-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.

Turnovers hurt the Lasers. They finished with 17 to just eight for Cypress.

And IVC shot just 35.6 percent (16 of 45) from the field, including only 23.1 percent (6 of 26) in the second half.

Robinson led the Lasers with 18 points. Sophomore guard Christian Louis added seven points and sophomore forward Aashad Womack had six points and 11 rebounds.

Cypress was paced by Castro with 16 points and Barnes, who finished with 11 points, six rebounds and three steals.

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