Inglewood Pulls Away From Santa Margarita
Inglewood didn’t need any last-minute heroics this time.
One year after knocking Santa Margarita out of the Southern Section boys’ basketball playoffs on a late three-pointer, the third-seeded Sentinels used a 13-0 run to close the game and defeat the second-seeded Eagles, 47-37, in a Division II-AA semifinal Tuesday at Loyola Marymount.
Inglewood will play top-seeded Compton Dominguez, a 77-49 winner over Paso Robles Tuesday, in Saturday’s championship game at the Arrowhead Pond.
Santa Margarita led, 37-34, with more than four minutes remaining and nearly extended its lead to five points when a shot by center Adam Tancredi bounced repeatedly around the rim before falling away.
Inglewood guard Ray Reed started the Sentinels’ decisive run shortly thereafter when he converted a shot off the glass inside the lane. And he finished it several minutes later with a breakaway one-handed dunk just before the final buzzer.
“He’s been our go-to guy all year,” Inglewood Coach Patrick Roy said of Reed, who scored 11 of the Sentinels’ 13 points during the run and finished with a game-high 18 points. “We wanted the ball in his hands.”
Reed followed his shot off the glass with a baseline drive and two free throws to put Inglewood (25-5) ahead, 40-37. Santa Margarita’s Travis Smith drove to the basket on the next play but had his shot blocked by Sentinel center D’Angelo Collins, who had five blocks and 13 points.
Teddy Fletcher gave Inglewood a 43-37 lead on a three-pointer with 1:22 left, and the Eagles then saw the game slip away as R.J. Socci threw the ball out of bounds and Brandon Rohe missed a pair of three-point attempts.
Poor shooting and the lack of a solid inside presence hurt Santa Margarita (26-5) the entire game. The Eagles shot 27.4% from the field and couldn’t combat Inglewood big men Collins and Doug Thomas.
“We’ve lost five times, all to teams that have size,” said Eagle Coach Jerry DeBusk, noting that his team also fell to Corona Centennial, Mesa (Ariz.) Dobson and Mater Dei twice.
Santa Margarita looked like it was finished midway through the third quarter after a 12-0 Inglewood run put the Sentinels ahead, 31-20. But some tenacious defense, and a couple of big three pointers from Rohe and Lenny Collins, helped the Eagles mount a 14-0 run of their own to go ahead 34-31 early in the fourth quarter.
“Once again, our outstanding commitment to defense carried us,” DeBusk said. “We just needed to make some shots at the end and didn’t.”
Collins led Santa Margarita with 13 points and Socci had nine.