Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee: 2011 & 2012 Boys Basketball CIF Champions

When the Orange Lutheran boys basketball team won their first CIF championship in 2011, and then made it two in a row by winning again in 2012, the back-to-back titles put the school on the map in Orange County and beyond.


A talented and determined group that was a force to contend with on the court, both the 2011 and 2012 teams will be honored this summer as one of 11 inductees in the Orange Lutheran Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2023.


While the program’s first CIF championship came in 2011, the story begins in 2010 when the Lancers made it to the CIF title game but suffered a heartbreaking three-point loss to Price of Los Angeles.


With much of the same roster returning the following year, OLu came in at the top of OC’s boys basketball rankings to start the 2011 season, and the players were on a mission with something to prove.


The Lancers were dominant for the majority of their regular season schedule that year, including securing a win over Mater Dei in league play, a first for OLu.


In their CIF-SS Division 4AA playoff run, OLu easily handled their opponents in the preliminary rounds leading up to the championship game versus Winward.


The toughest competition they had faced in the playoffs, OLu started the game with an early lead but headed into the fourth quarter down 54-51 to the Wildcats.


Thanks to an unrelenting pace, coupled with timely three-pointers by Lancer sophomore Payton Banks and junior Gabe York, along with key late-game free throws by seniors James Douglas and Scott Barron, the Lancers outscored Winward 27-17 in the final frame to secure the 78-71 victory at Anaheim Convention Center.


Douglas, who was the team’s leading scorer that season, led with 27 points, nine rebounds and six assists on the night. The senior also went 10 for 19 on the floor and 6 for 7 at the free-throw line. His performance during the Lancers’ historic playoff run earned him 2011 CIF Player of the Year honors.


“He was that kid who was so steady,” said former OLu boys basketball head coach Chris Nordstrom of Douglas. “I could have played him in five basketball games in a row, and he would never get tired. He was just a phenomenal athlete and a phenomenal kid.”


To make the victory even sweeter, OLu’s girls basketball team won their own CIF championship just hours later on that same court when they defeated Bonita of La Verne for the CIF-SS Division 3A title.


Fast forward to the 2012 boys basketball season, and in Nordstrom’s words, the scene was “crazy town”.


York’s college recruiting had exploded, and he became one of the most sought after high school players in the country. Nordstrom recalls having to open the gym bleachers at practice on a regular basis for the nearly 100 Division 1 coaches who were in attendance to watch York play.


The season was hectic, chaotic and full of immense pressure and expectations. At the end of the season, the Lancers dropped a league game to St. John Bosco, resulting in a tie-breaker game with JSerra played the next day to determine third place. OLu secured the victory and an automatic berth in the CIF postseason, moving up to Division 1A. But the group was exhausted and winning a championship for the second year in a row seemed unlikely.


That all changed when the playoff run began. The Lancers opened at home against Dana Hills, and York put all eyes on OLu with his historic alley-oop dunk that garnered more than 10 million views on YouTube and made ESPN SportsCenter.


Leading up to the finals, OLu earned victories over formidable opponents in Great Oak, Corona and Capistrano Valley. The championship game saw the Lancers face off against Mission Viejo in a more physical contest than they had played to date.


After getting out to a 10-0 lead to start the game, OLu led by only 37-32 at the half and found themselves down 50-49 with nearly six minutes remaining.


But strong contributions from Jared Carver, Banks and York, who had 28 points on the night, sealed the 64-58 victory for the Lancers.


“It's fun to watch,” recalled Nordstrom of the victory. “It's back and forth. The crowd's going crazy. They have a huge fan base. It is great, great high school game.”


York, who is also an Orange Lutheran Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2023 inductee, was named 2012 CIF Player of the Year.


Although each championship was unique, both were achieved with a mix of talented veteran leadership and underclassmen role players. And despite the high expectations and being under the microscope of local and national media, the historic two-year title run for this group of Lancers ushered in a new era of OLu boys basketball.


The Orange Lutheran Boys Basketball 2011 & 2012 CIF Championship Team rosters include:


Players: Payton Banks, Scott Barron, Andrew Bastien, Jared Carver, Cameron Collins-Cepeda, James Douglas, AJ Holman, Antwon Johnson, Jackson Kollar, Kendall Lauderdale, Luke Marchiorlatti, John Montgomery, Joey Perez, Rob Rosenast, Jonathan Ross, Khalid Shakur, Drake Ulmer, Darien Williams, Gabe York


Head Coach: Chris Nordstrom

Assistant Coaches: Dustin Boburka, Pete Lark, Brendan Masterson, D'Cean Bryant

Topics from this blog: Athletics Alumni Stories