Alemany takes Division III thriller
March, 17, 2012
By Blair Angulo | ESPNLosAngeles.com
ONTARIO -- Sometimes the spotlight shines brightest on players like K.J. Moffett. The junior guard won't soon forget his moment.
Moffett's sprawling reverse layup with under two seconds remaining carried the Alemany boys' basketball team to the CIF Southern California Division III regional championship Saturday afternoon at Citizens Bank Arena. It was his only field goal in the Warriors' thrilling 62-61 victory over St. John Bosco but it secured a trip to Sacramento, where they'll meet NorCal champion San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral.
The ball reached Moffett's hands on a pass from teammate Marqueze Coleman, a top-scoring wing headed to Nevada. The lesser-known player made it count, driving baseline and converting on a difficult attempt.
"It didn't seem real," Moffett said. "It was a great feeling."
Alemany led by as many as 18 in the first half but needed a comeback late. Bosco went on a furious rally, jumping ahead by six with under two minutes left. The Braves led by one following Kameron Murrell's lay in with 11 seconds remaining.
"Wow is the only thing I can say about that game," Alemany coach Tray Meeks said.
Alemany (32-4), the Southern Section Division 3A champion, was led by Coleman's 24 points and point guard Max Guercy's 20.
Isaac Hamilton had 32 points and 11 rebounds for Bosco, which reached the regional final with a thrilling victory against Southern Section Division 3AAA champion Pasadena earlier in the week.
"After halftime I scrapped the offense," Braves first-year coach Derrick Taylor said. "I said, 'Isaac, you make plays.'"
The strategy worked, as the Braves (25-8) overcame their biggest deficit of the season. And despite holding a monstrous 49-20 rebounding edge, Bosco fell.
"When you're in a championship game, it's tough to beat a very good team if you commit 22 turnovers," Taylor said.
The biggest turnover came on a bad pass from Hamilton late. Coleman stole the ball, was fouled and made the first free throw to pull to within one. He missed the second but Guercy recovered a loose ball and sank the go-ahead bucket.
"I should have kept the ball in my hands," Hamilton said. "That's all I remember."