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Boys' basketball: Tustin pulls away for 49-32 victory

February 28, 2013 |  8:53 pm

_2283204Defense wins championships.

It's one of the oldest adages in sports and Tustin proved why with a lockdown defensive effort in the first half that resulted in a 49-32 victory over Royal in Thursday's Southern Section Division 3AAA championship game at the Anaheim Convention Center. 

The top-seeded Tillers (30-2) held Royal to six points in the first half on 2-of-16 shooting and they were confident at halftime despite clinging to a precarious 14-6 lead.

"I felt okay just because we were getting good looks... the shots simply weren't falling early," Tustin Coach Rich Bossenmeyer said. "The key was that we stayed strong on the defensive end until our offense picked it up. We did a pretty good job of negating their offensive rebounding and contesting their shots."

Deondre Bryant and Xavier Powell each scored 15 points for Tustin, which won its first CIF title since 1991 when they routed Riverside North 70-42 in the 2AA final at the L.A. Sports Arena. That team went on to win the state title and these Tillers will try to do the same. The state Division 3 playoff pairings will be announced Sunday. 

Royal shot 23.5% from the field and had 18 turnovers, which Tustin converted into 18 points. Center Scott Woods scored 12 points but star guard Max McCoy had only six points on 2-of-12 shooting for the sixth-seeded Highlanders (23-8), who lost to Inglewood 60-57 in the 2AA final last season.

-- Steve Galluzzo

Photo: Deondre Bryant slam dunks in Tustin's 49-32 victory over Royal in the Southern Section Division 3AAA championship game. Credit: Steve Galluzzo / For The Times