Price knocks off La Verne Lutheran
March, 13, 2012
By Blair Angulo | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LA VERNE -- It was as simple as this: Skylar Spencer didn't want his season to end. One free throw to tie, two to lead. Less than seven seconds remaining.
The San Diego State-bound forward sank both, pushing Los Angeles Price past La Verne Lutheran, 53-52, Tuesday night in the Southern California Regionals Division IV semifinals at the University of La Verne. Price will match up against top-seeded Gardena Serra, the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA champion, in the regional title game Saturday night at Ontario Colony High School.
Second-seeded Lutheran, a two-time defending state champion, had a chance to win with 6.9 seconds remaining, but McDonald's All-American Grant Jerrett fumbled a pass inside the paint before the final buzzer sounded.
"That last six-point-whatever seconds seemed like two minutes," Price coach Michael Lynch said. "When I saw that ball fumbled away, I lost it."
Lutheran (25-8) took a 52-51 lead with 32.8 seconds remaining after Jerrett made one of two free throws. Lynch called a timeout and, on the ensuing possession, Spencer pulled down an offensive rebound and was fouled hard.
He composed himself and took the biggest free throws of his life.
"I knew I had to at least make one but I was worried about making two," said Spencer, who finished with 11 points and five blocked shots. "I didn't want my season to end. I didn't want the game to go into overtime."
JaQuan Green had 14 points and a handful of offensive rebounds against the undersized Trojans. Trey Dickerson added 11.
Jerrett, an Arizona signee, finished with a game-high 20 points. He went down to one knee when the game ended, devastated as teammates met him under the basket.
It was the second thriller the teams had played this year. On Feb. 9 in the regular-season finale, Lutheran beat Price 76-74 in Los Angeles. The Knights (25-8) used that loss as motivation.
"They beat us on our Senior Night," Spencer said. "It left a sour taste in our mouth. We were coming back for some revenge."
Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPN Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter.