The inside presence of Alex Bulkin and Montrice Johns, and an 11-turnover third quarter, were too much for Orange Glen to overcome Friday at Del Norte High.
Bulkin and Johns combined for 25 points (17 by Bulkin) and 23 rebounds (17 by Bulkin) as the Nighthawks pulled away in the second half, beating the Patriots 64-54.
With the victory, Del Norte (17-6, 6-0) takes a two-game lead atop the Valley League standings. Orange Glen (18-5, 4-2) slips to two games back. Both teams have four league games remaining.
“I’ve been on varsity four years, finishing second or third,” the 6-foot-6 Bulkin said. “I’m tired of it.
“We have four on the road, and you never know what will happen. But I’m confident we can win this thing.”
Bulkin said the plan was to attack OG’s 6-6 Khor Tut.
“We wanted to get him in foul trouble,” Bulkin said. “Once we did that, we just went hard to the basket.”
Orange Glen trailed just 29-28 at the half on the strength of 20 first-half points by Kalyn Thomas. But the 11 third-quarter turnovers led to a nine-point Del Norte lead.
The Nighthawks pushed the margin to 14 early in the fourth quarter.
“Alex and Montrice have really turned into a nice complement,” said Del Norte coach Robert Spahn.
“Alex had had a double-double in four of his last five games, and Montrice is really turning into a competitor.”
Thomas led all scorers with 26, the only OG player in double figures.
Tut was held to seven points and eight rebounds. Michael Diaz had 12 rebounds for the Patriots.
Del Norte’s Austin Clyde, one of the top scorers in San Diego, finished with 22 points, including four 3-pointers. He also had 10 rebounds.
“Austin’s our scorer,” Bulkin said. “We rebound and work to get him the ball.
“Really, we’re playing pretty well. We have a scorer and some tough guys inside. This is the team we’ve been building toward.”