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Boys' basketball: Late surge gives Damien 3AA title

February 28, 2013 | 10:19 pm

_2283224Clinging to a two-point lead entering the fourth quarter, Damien knew that the outcome of Thursday's  Southern Section Division 3AA championship game was hanging in the balance.

The Spartans responded like champions by outscoring Santa Margarita 18-6 over the final eight minutes and won 54-40 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Forward Ayodeji Adedeji had 18 points and 13 rebounds and point guard Jeremy Hemsley added 17 points and four assists for second-seeded Damien (25-6), which led 13-11 after the first quarter but trailed 23-21 at halftime.

There were five ties and eight lead changes in a game where momentum seemed to swing on every possession.

Devonte Klines had 18 points and Ryan Merritt and Joe Furstinger each added eight apiece for the fifth-seeded Eagles (16-15), who reached the finals despite ending the regular season with 11 straight losses, a consequence of playing in the tough Trinity League.

-- Steve Galluzzo

 Photo: Damien's Jared Dizon (left) is guarded by Santa Margarita's Devonte Klines in Thursday's Southern Section Division 3AA final. Credit: Steve Galluzzo / For The Times