Irvine Valley's men's basketball team earned a much needed victory Wednesday night, upending Santa Ana, 73-63, in an Orange Empire Conference contest at home.
IVC had dropped two of its last three games, including its last two at home.
The Lasers fell to Fullerton last Wednesday in double overtime. Wednesday’s victory kept Irvine Valley's chances for the postseason alive and improved its record to 17-6 overall and 4-3 in conference.
Santa Ana's record slipped to 8-13 overall and 2-6 in conference.
Santa Ana gave Irvine Valley all it could handle the first time the two teams met in conference. IVC held on for a 46-40 victory.
It was the same way on Wednesday night. The Lasers led, 35-26, at halftime, but Santa Ana never went away.
Irvine Valley led by as many as 15 points in the second half (44-29) with 15:57 left after a lay-up by freshman forward Michael Bolden.
But the Dons later climbed back within six points at 53-47 on a three-point play by Ashton Twine with 10:02 to go. It was a 66-60 game with 3:46 remaining after a jumper by Santa Ana's Kacy Barlow.
Sophomore point guard Kalob Hatcher gave IVC the separation it needed with a three-pointer the next trip down the floor. His three put Irvine Valley ahead, 69-60, with 3:02 to go.
Santa Ana got within six points again at 69-63 with 44 seconds left after two free throws by Twine, but it was too late. Bolden made four of four free throws down the stretch for the Lasers.
Bolden led Irvine Valley with a season-high 17 points. He was 5 of 8 from the field and 5 of 5 from the line. Bolden added five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Hatcher and sophomore guard Ramon Mejia each finished with 14 points. Hatcher also had eight assists and three steals.
Sophomore forward Chris Taylor chipped in nine points and three assists for IVC.
Irvine Valley shot 49.1 percent from the field (28 of 57) for the game and had 21 assists on its 28 made baskets.
Santa Ana was paced by Kevin Ramirez, who finished with a game-high 18 points. Barlow added 13 points and Kashif Williams ended with 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Dons shot 42.6 percent from the field (20 of 47), but committed 16 turnovers to eight for the Lasers. Santa Ana did out-rebound Irvine Valley, 34-23, in the contest.
The Lasers play again on Friday at district rival Saddleback at 7:30 p.m. Saddleback beat IVC in double overtime the first time the teams met.