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PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE : Punto, Warnick Spark Trabuco Hills' Victory


In a battle of contrasting styles and tempos, Trabuco Hills' upbeat game eventually wore down Estancia and the Mustangs posted a 79-67 Pacific Coast League boys' basketball victory Friday at Trabuco Hills High.

Although leading scorer Ryan Karnoff had an off-night, Nick Punto scored 24 points, including four three-pointers, and Rob Warnick added 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead Trabuco Hills.

The Mustangs (15-4, 3-0 in league), ranked fourth in Orange County, extended their winning streak to seven and took over sole possession of first place. Estancia (11-6, 2-1) had its five-game winning streak ended.

"It's like they made a couple of three-pointers early and we abandoned our own inside game plan and tried to match them," Estancia Coach Tim Parsel said.

Karnoff made two three-pointers and Punto scored eight points in the first quarter as the Mustangs raced to a 24-9 lead. Karnoff, who entered the game averaging 21 points, finished with 13 points, making only four of 18 shots from the field.

When Karnoff cooled, Estancia began chipping away at the lead in the second and third quarters.

Estancia, using its size and height advantage, began pounding away inside with 6-foot-5, 250-pound Chris Candlish leading the way. Candlish finished with a team-high 19 points and 12 rebounds.

"We're not real thick up front," Trabuco Hills Coach Rainer Wulf said. "They were getting too many second shots."

With Trabuco Hills missing 6-5, 220-pound forward Derrek Uhl, who is out because of a strained left knee, the Eagles dominated inside and outrebounded Trabuco Hills, 53-33.

Meanwhile, Estancia's two 6-foot guards, Clay Frenz and Zack Richardson, worked the outside, finishing with 13 points each. The pair scored 18 of their 26 points during the Eagles' second-half rally.

Estancia took the lead, 51-50, on a three-pointer by Richardson, but Punto answered with a three-pointer and a 53-51 Trabuco Hills' lead with 1 minute 19 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Frenz scored on a drive to draw Estancia even, 53-53, but Warnick made a steal off of the Mustangs' press, then made two free throws with 24 seconds left in the quarter to give Trabuco Hills the lead for good.

"It was great to see us come back and pull it out after Estancia came back in the game," Wulf said. "Ryan was a little off, but everyone picked it up tonight."

In other league games:

Century 60, Laguna Beach 38--Hector Negrete had 15 points and six rebounds and Ronny Aristondo added 14 points to lead visiting Century (16-3, 2-1), the ninth-ranked team in the county. Ian McDonald scored 12 points for Laguna Beach (4-13, 0-3).

Laguna Hills 50, Costa Mesa 36--Jesse McDonald had 16 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, for Laguna Hills (7-9, 2-1). Mike Sugiyama scored nine points for Costa Mesa (6-11, 0-3).

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