It's always a gamble to live and die by the three-point shot at Honda Center, and Gahr found out how tough it is. The Gladiators made nine threes going into the fourth quarter on Saturday in the 3AA final against Sonora. Then their shots stopped falling. Sonora went on a 16-0 surge and came away with a 66-54 victory.
"We were about five minutes away from finishing it off," Gahr Coach Rickey Roper said. "They made some shots and we didn't."
Point guard Josh Rodriguez scored 16 points to lead Sonora (28-4) offensively, but the real star of the game was 6-foot-6 center Steven Murphy, who said he played his best game. He finished with 13 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.
"He was the anchor of our team," Coach Mike Murphy said. "He was huge today."
Ben Rico added 12 points and 14 rebounds. Sonora outrebounded Gahr, 45-29.
Sophomore Marvin Bragg led Gahr (25-7) with 15 points. Justin Smith had 13 points and Jeremy Carlyle 10. Gahr made 10 of 30 shots from three-point range and shot just 21% in the fourth quarter.
"The basketball gods were on our side in the fourth quarter," Murphy said.