Irvine Valley's men's basketball team couldn't follow up on its big win over Saddleback last week with another key victory Tuesday night.
For the second time this season, Irvine Valley lost to Santa Ana.
The Dons came out on top, 64-61, to remain in first place in the Orange Empire Conference.
Santa Ana defeated Irvine Valley, 70-67, in overtime the first time the two teams met.
With Tuesday's win Santa Ana, ranked No. 9 in the state and No. 5 in Southern California, improved its record to 14-9 overall and 8-1 in conference.
Irvine Valley, ranked No. 10 in the state and No. 6 in Southern California, had its record slip to 23-4 overall and 7-3 in conference.
The defeat all but ended Irvine Valley's chance at a conference title and also dropped the Lasers into third place in the conference standings behind Saddleback (7-2).
Irvine Valley has two games left in the regular season. It plays at Fullerton on Thursday and then hosts Riverside next Wednesday.
Irvine Valley was paced in the loss on Tuesday by sophomore guard Shaquille Hunter, who finished with 21 points. Freshman forward Chris Porter added 12 points and six rebounds, freshman guard Jimmy Golden had nine points and four assists and sophomore center Declan Daly added seven points, six rebounds and four steals.
The Lasers shot 40.7 percent (22 of 54) for the game and out-rebounded Santa Ana, 36-31.
A big difference for Santa Ana in the win was at the line. The Dons made 25 of 27 free throws (92.6 percent).
Santa Ana shot 38.3 percent (18 of 47) from the field for the game.
The Dons were paced by Cammie Lewis with 20 points and five rebounds, Terrence Blum with 18 points and DuJuan Williams with 13 points. Erik Emanuel added five points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals in the win.
The game was tied, 27-27, at halftime.
Irvine Valley took a 40-36 lead on a three-pointer by Hunter with 14:54 left in the game.
Santa Ana answered with six straight points to go up 42-40 on a Lewis jumper with 13:04 to play.
It was back and forth after that with six ties and six lead changes.
Tied, 55-55, Santa Ana took control. The Dons scored six straight points, getting a layup by Emanuel, two free throws by Williams and then two more free throws by Williams to go up, 61-55, with 33 seconds to play.
Irvine Valley went 4:05 without scoring. It committed five turnovers and missed one shot during that time.
A three-pointer by Porter kept Irvine Valley alive and pulled the Lasers to within 61-58 with 22 seconds left.
Williams was fouled and made one of two free throws to make it a 62-58 game with 20 seconds remaining.
Hunter hit an off balance three-pointer in the right corner to get the Lasers to within 62-61 with seven 7 seconds left.
But Lewis made two free throws with 5.2 seconds to go and Irvine Valley couldn't get a final shot off before the buzzer sounded.