ONTARIO -- Bryan Alberts sent Village Christian to its first CIF State championship game hitting a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left in the Southern California Regional Division V final.
His 3-pointer gave Village Christian a three-point edge in a 58-57 win over Renaissance Academy at Colony High School on Saturday.
“It’s great for us,” Alberts said. “It’s just another one of our goals.”
With the score tied 55-55, Alberts nailed his third 3-pointer of the game. Renaissance Academy’s Vince DeGuzman cut the lead to one with a tough layup with 10 seconds left.
After DeGuzman’s basket, Village Christian’s Joe Shashaty was fouled, but missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw.
Renaissance Academy put the ball in DeGuzman’s hand for the final shot, but his off-balance 3-pointer hit the front of the rim and bounced out at the buzzer.
Jessy Cantinol and DeGuzman led a feisty Renaissance Academy offense throughout the game. Cantinol scored a game-high 22 points and was 9-for-11 from the field. DeGuzman scored 10 points and was one of three players from Renaissance Academy in double figures.
Renaissance Academy had a one-point lead, 48-47, to start the fourth quarter. Marquis Salmon tied the score, 49-49, for Village Christian fighting for two tough rebounds and scoring with 7:10 to play.
Marsalis Johnson put Village Christian up by two points, 51-49, with a pair of free throws.
But Renaissance Academy battled back. Yendra Maglorie tied the score, 53-53, on his second basket of the game midway through the fourth quarter.
Gherric Lineau gave Renaissance Academy a two-point lead, 55-53, scoring his 12th point of the game. He was 6-for-8 from the field.
Salmon tied the score, 55-55, and was fouled on the play. He had a chance to give Village Christian a one-point lead, but missed the free throw. He scored a team-high 19 points and had nine rebounds.
That set up Alberts’ dramatic 3-pointer. But Alberts said he thought he left too much time on the clock for Renaissance Academy to make another comeback.
“I thought we were going to let the clock run a little bit,” said Alberts, who scored 13 points and was 3-for-5 on 3-pointers.
But instead of trying to tie the score with a 3-pointer, Renaissance Academy attacked the basket. DeGuzman scored after using up almost all of the shot clock and left 10 seconds on the game clock.
“They have so many shooters, I thought they were going to take a three,” Alberts said. “When they went and drove it. I was very surprised.”
Village Christian won its first Southern California Regional Division V boys basketball championship and is headed to the state finals for the first time in school history.
Renaissance Academy won the Southern California Regional Division V championship in 2008, 55-52, over Price.