What happened at the end of Tuesday night's San Fernando Valley Invitational championship game between Cathedral and Chaminade couldn't have produced more drama.
Time was running out for the Phantoms. They trailed by a single point and had the ball trying to come up with a final play. But nothing was open, so point guard Milan Acquaah decided to take charge. He launched a three-pointer from the top of the key just before the buzzer sounded and it went through the net to give Cathedral a 65-63 victory.
"It was a big-time shot," Coach William Middlebrooks said.
Added Acquaah, "We tried to run a pick and roll, but the play wasn't there so I felt I had to bring it out and get a shot up as soon as possible, so I shot the three."
Then he went over to the small Chaminade student section that had gotten on the nerves of Cathedral players all night and expressed his feelings. He finished with 17 points to help the Phantoms improve to 6-0.
It was a night where Cathedral learned lots of lessons. Standout junior Kobe Paras from the Philippines was introduced to American basketball. He picked up two quick charging fouls to start the game. Chaminade's student section was chanting his name. He picked up a technical for clapping in the face of Chaminade's Michael Oguine with 5:35 left in the third quarter. It changed the game completely.
Cathedral was leading by 16 points. It was Paras' third foul. He went to the bench and Chaminade (8-1) went on a 29-7 surge and led by eight points with five minutes left.
The lead was seven points with 2:37 left when Paras returned with four fouls. The Phantoms began their comeback. Acquaah's steal and dunk cut the deficit to one.
Oguine, who finished with 20 points for Chaminade, received tournament MVP honors. Jordan Ogundiran, who had 16 points, made all-tournament. So did Paras, who finished with 11 points in limited action because of foul trouble. Michael Obindu contributed 17 points off the bench for Cathedral.
Paras will have to learn to deal with vocal fans in the future. And Cathedral will have to learn to be more poised.
"We let the refs get into our heads," Acquaah said.