To say that Alemany's basketball team was going down to defeat on Wednesday night was no understatement.
The Warriors trailed by 14 points late in the third quarter and never seemed on the verge of a comeback for much of the fourth quarter. But something changed. A full-court press suddenly caused Crespi players to unravel. There were turnovers, missed shots and a failure to understand what to do when trapped.
"Pressure and belief. That's all we had," Alemany Coach Tray Meeks said.
With stunning speed, Alemany went from 10 points down with under three minutes left to a 59-58 lead after a Shacquille Dawkins basket with 23 seconds left.
Then Crespi put the ball into the hands of its best player, De'Anthony Melton. Guarding him was Alemany's 6-foot-7 Kevin Summers, a standout defensive end in football and top athlete. Crespi fans were on their feet. Melton went one-on-one, drove to the basket, but Summers stopped him and didn't foul. Melton put up a shot that missed. Daron Henson got the rebound. The buzzer sounded. Alemany had won, 59-58, to take over sole possession of first place in the Mission League.
Dawkins scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half. Sophomore Earnie Sears also had 15 points. Summers added nine points.
Melton had 22 points and Mike Krkeyan 13 for Crespi (16-6, 5-2), which showed off tremendous passing and terrific defense for much of the game until collapsing under the pressure defense of the Warriors (16-6, 6-1).
"We were dead to the rights," Meeks said. "But pressure and belief is what it took."
In other Mission League games, Loyola defeated Chaminade, 64-61, despite the absence of Max Hazzard (knee). Stone Gettings had 16 points and 14 rebounds. Nick Skoro added 15 points. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame defeated Harvard-Westlake, 81-77. Chibueze Jacobs had 30 points and 20 rebounds for Notre Dame. Alex Copeland led Harvard-Westlake with 25 points.