Manual Arts High School defeated Fremont on a running double-pump jumper by Marcel Capers at the overtime buzzer, 65-64, Thursday night in the State Division I basketball tournament before a crowd of 2,000 at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
The Toilers (26-1), defending state champions, will play Crenshaw in a rematch of the City 4-A title game in the Southern Regional final Saturday night at the Sports Arena.
Capers’ heroics were needed after Fremont’s Lionel Pandy made two free throws with five seconds left in overtime.
Capers received the inbounds pass and dribbled down the right sideline before launching an 18-footer past a jumping Pathfinder defender.
“This is something I have always dreamt about,” the junior guard said. “They gave me a lane, and I took it. Coach (Randolph Simpson) said for me to take over, all along.”
Capers looked off an open Kent Bennett under the basket to take the winning shot.
“I saw Kent open and I was hoping that he would pass it to him,” Simpson said. “At first, I was saying, ‘No, no,’ and then it was like, ‘Way to go, Marcel.’ ”
Simpson had the Toilers prepared for their frantic run after Pandy’s free throws.
“I told them that after the free throws to look for them to start celebrating and to run our sideline offense,” Simpson said.
Capers’ shot was a severe blow to Fremont’s star center, Tyrone Phillips, who scored 33 points.
Phillips, who played on the same team with Capers in junior high school, was surprised when his former teammate took the winning shot.
“I just did not think that Marcel was capable of making a shot like that,” Phillips said.
“We gave it our all, but I guess that they wanted it more at the end than we did.”
Fremont (27-4) had its own moment of late heroics at the end of regulation, when sophomore forward Chris Ford rebounded in a shot while falling to tie the game, 58-58, as the buzzer sounded.
“I guess turnaround is fair play,” Simpson said. “The officials just did not hear the buzzer as he took the shot. We had it won there.”
Bennett scored 26 points for Manual Arts.