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MISSION VIEJO— Two weeks ago when the Capo Valley boys basketball team took on Trabuco Hills it had an uncharacteristic second half and ended up losing by over 20.
Flash forward to Friday where the Cougars erased those offensive woes.
Capo Valley edged out Trabuco Hills 58-53 to remain in the hunt for the South Coast League championship.
The Cougars were led by seniors Efe Gucoglu and Jackson Gray who combined for 39 points, four steals and two blocks.
“They’ve been our scoring leaders for the bulk of the year,” Capo Valley coach Brian Mulligan said. “They do kind of play off each other that way and it works out for us.”
Capo Valley started the first quarter strong both offensively and defensively.
Efe Gucoglu was able to force two of his team’s three steals in the first quarter to shift the momentum the Cougars way as they went up 19-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Both teams kept playing tough defense in the second quarter as Capo Valley continued to hold its lead.
Gray finished the first half with 16 points with two 3-pointers as the Cougars went into halftime leading 33-25.
“We just try to do what we can do without forcing things,” Gray said. “We just try to take our shots when we get them.”
Trabuco Hills came out of the half and were able to get themselves back into the game with a 15-5 run in the quarter that saw nine unanswered points.
Mustangs center Matt Mowers was able to pry the ball away on a steal and find Nate Tuttle to shrink Capo Valley’s lead down to one point during the closing stages of the fourth quarter, but couldn’t take the lead. Gucoglu was able to answer back with a steal of his own and hit a three to boost Capo Valley’s lead.
Trabuco Hills had a chance to take control at the end of the game with 42 seconds left to play, but missed both free throws.
The Mustangs went down the court and were unsuccessful at taking the lead. Capo Valley was able to get the rebound this time and call a timeout.
The Cougars found Gucoglu wide open running up the court and was hit in stride for the easy layup, icing the game.
Gucoglu was fouled and converted both free throws to put the icing on the cake for Capo Valley as they won 58-53. Gucoglu was a force on both ends of the court as he finished with 20 points and four steals.
“If we keep playing defense like this, I don’t think anyone can beat us,” said Gucoglu, who finished with 20 points. “On offense, we just try to share the ball and take some good shots.”
Mowers finished with 14 points and two steals fas the Mustangs fell to 14-10 overall and 2-3 in South Coast League play.
Capo Valley moves to 16-7 and 4-2 in the South Coast League and currently sits in second place one game behind Tesoro. The Cougars will play their final two league games next week against San Juan Hills and San Clemente.