Santa Margarita guard T.J. Williams scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Eagles over Inglewood, 83-57, in a Southern Section Division II-AA boys’ basketball semifinal Friday night at Dana Hills High School.
Inglewood stayed close for much of the game, pulling within five points, 43-38, early in the third quarter. But Santa Margarita went on a 17-8 run in the last four minutes of the quarter to take control.
With 2:07 left in the game, Williams hit his fourth three-point shot of the game to seal the victory for Santa Margarita (27-2). Williams made four of eight three-point shots and had five assists.
“We had to come out and play with the same intensity this game as we did against Katella Tuesday night, if we were going to win,” Santa Margarita Coach Jerry DeBusk said. “And we did that. They caused us problems in the first half with their defensive pressure forcing us into a lot of turnovers, but we seemed to handle the pressure better in the second half with patience.”
The Eagles, Sea View League champions, came out aggressively on offense early and took a 21-18 first-quarter lead.
With 7:06 to play in the second quarter, Santa Margarita guard Jake Rohe made a three-pointer, pulling up well beyond the arc, to give the Eagles a 26-20 lead. They extended the lead to 11 points, before Inglewood got consecutive three-pointers by Bradley Jackson to make it 31-26.
But with less than a minute left in the half, Santa Margarita forward Carson Palmer made the Eagles’ sixth three-point shot of the half, to extend their lead to 41-32 at halftime.
Jenkins had 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for Inglewood (21-6). Second-seeded Santa Margarita will play top-seeded Compton in the final Thursday at UC Irvine.