IRVINE – Sage Hill’s boys basketball team is on a roll.
The Lightning defeated Woodbridge 61-59 on Tuesday at Woodbridge High to take sole possession of first place in the Pacific Coast League.
Carter Bryant scored 24 points and added nine rebounds and three blocked shots as Sage Hill improved to 5-0 in league and 8-11 overall.
Woodbridge is 4-1 in league and 12-12 overall.
“We understood the importance of this game,” Bryant said.
The multi-skilled Bryant asserted his importance early. He scored six points in the first quarter and in one sequence he blocked a shot on the defensive end, collected the rebound and dribbled the length of the court for a layup.
And all game long, when a teammate was open under the basket Bryant got the ball to him with a quick and precise pass.
Bryant, a 6-8 junior who spent his freshman and sophomore years at Fountain Valley, has scholarship offers from several colleges including Arizona, Duke, UCLA and USC.
Sage Hill junior forward Johnny Mayhew scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Senior guard Alex Cobb scored his 10 points in the second half.
Woodbridge junior guard Stephen Lamp scored a team-high 18 points and made three 3-pointers. Senior guard Ethan Fu scored 16 points, seven of them in the fourth quarter, and junior guard James Schindler scored 12 points
The Warriors had a great third quarter, as they made 8 of 12 shots and took a 41-38 lead into the fourth quarter.
Mayhew scored six points in the fourth quarter and Bryant was 5 of 6 at the free-throw line in the quarter as the Lightning outscored Woodbridge 23-18.
In the final 19 seconds Bryant blocked a shot and Cobb made two free throws to secure the victory for Sage Hill.
Sage Hill coach D’Cean Bryant, who was the Orange County coach of the year for the 2019-20 season when he was at Fountain Valley, was absent because of illness. Filling in for him was assistant coach Elijah Gaines, who was pleased by the team’s effort.
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“One thing about this team is that we fight,” Gaines said. “We’re going to fight to the end.”
As for Bryant, Gaines said, “That kid is special. Everybody sees it. There are no flaws in his game.”
Sage Hill, which played in the Academy League last season, is No. 10 in the CIF Southern Section Division 4A rankings, while El Modena is No. 5 and Santa Ana is No. 9. Leuzinger is No. 1 in the division.
Sage Hill plays at home against University in a league game Friday. Woodbridge plays a league game Friday at Beckman.