Lopez, Sylvester Lift Campbell Hall, 46-43 : Boys’ basketball: Experience of senior pair evident as Vikings defeat Pasadena Poly for Division V-AA title.
Campbell Hall High center Alex Lopez got an assist from point guard Harold Sylvester in an unconventional way Saturday night.
Sylvester buried three three-point shots in the second half, opening the inside game for Lopez, and the Vikings rallied to win the Southern Section Division V-AA championship with a 46-43 victory over Pasadena Poly before 2,000 at Pepperdine’s Firestone Fieldhouse.
The title is the second for Campbell Hall in three seasons. The Vikings won the championship in 1992 and were ineligible in 1993.
Lopez, a 6-foot-11 four-year starter who will attend Washington next season, finished with 19 points and six blocked shots. His biggest points came with just over one minute left when he completed a three-point play that put the Vikings ahead, 43-37.
Pasadena Poly rallied to close within one point with six seconds to play, but Viking forward Jim Snodgrass calmly hit two free throws with four seconds left. The Panthers couldn’t get off a shot.
Campbell Hall (21-8) claimed the lead for good with 2:15 to play when Sylvester (14 points) hit his fourth three-pointer for a 40-37 lead.
Sylvester, a shooting guard for most of the year, moved to point guard when Damon Glymph was lost for the season with a foot injury the last week of the regular season.
“We just needed to put up good shots,” said Sylvester, a senior. “Alex and I refused to lose.”
Sylvester’s outside shooting helped free the lane for Lopez, who was pushed and held for most of the game.
“Harold and I have this connection since we’ve played together to so long,” Lopez said. “We could have lost but the enthusiasm we had pulled us through.”
Pasadena Poly (21-5) was led by senior forward Cameron Murphy with 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, nine in the second half. Scott and Tenere Williams each added nine points.
Campbell Hall got a boost from Justin Wallace, starting for Mike Appel, who was sidelined with a pulled tendon in his thigh. Appel was replacing Glymph in the lineup.
Wallace didn’t score, but he grabbed seven rebounds.
After a ragged start, both teams slowed the pace. Each had only one possession over a two-minute stretch late in the first quarter.
Led by eight points from Lopez, Campbell Hall held a 17-8 lead early in the second quarter before Pasadena Poly started to hit outside shots.
“It took us about a quarter to adjust and play because Lopez is so darn big,” Panther Coach Brad Hall said.
The Panthers went on a 6-0 run to end the first half after Lopez picked up his second personal foul and cut Campbell Hall’s lead to 22-21 at halftime.
“We lost the lead because Snodgrass wasn’t in there,” Viking Coach Jon Palarz said. “He knows our offensive spacing best and how to get people away from Alex, but he was in foul trouble too.”
Snodgrass was called for two fouls early in the first quarter and did not play much the rest of the first half.