Taylor’s Best Shot Not Good Enough
Bryce Taylor, averaging 28 points for North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake, connected on his first shot, a three-point attempt, in the opening minute of the state Division III boys’ basketball championship game Saturday.
He didn’t have much luck the rest of the game. He made only six of 28 shots. Harvard-Westlake fell behind by 15 points in the fourth quarter, started fouling in desperation and came close to catching up before losing to Sacramento Foothill, 66-62, at Arco Arena in Sacramento.
Foothill (33-2) received steady guard play from Sam Kirby, who scored 22 points, and Chris Walker, who had 15 points and was assigned the task of covering Taylor.
“They played tough defense,” Taylor said. “They pressured all over the court and it got to us a little bit. I was rushing my shot.”
Taylor finished with 23 points and 16 rebounds. Harris Chung had 17 points and Ed White had 13. Vincent Rivera scored 15 points for Foothill, making 11 of his 18 free throws.
The Wolverines (29-7) trailed, 56-41, with five minutes left, then started fouling en masse. When Foothill kept missing its free throws, the Wolverines took advantage. They went on a 9-0 run to draw within six.
After falling behind by nine points with 2:46 left, the Wolverines made another run, closing to within 62-59 on a Taylor dunk with 39 seconds left. They couldn’t get any closer.
“It was a matter of time running out before we could come back,” Harvard-Westlake Coach Greg Hilliard said. “We got back into it because we picked up the defensive intensity. Momentum is a strange thing and it switched over to us and we rode it as best we could.”
Harvard-Westlake, which had four starters foul out, shot 29% from the field but had a 53-37 edge in rebounding over the Mustangs, who made only 19 of 37 free throws.
“The momentum had turned,” Foothill Coach Drew Hibbs said. “We kept just enough composure to hold them off.”
-- Eric Sondheimer
San Diego Horizon 77, Hercules 62 -- Jared Dudley finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds and Ryan Reed had 16 points for the Panthers, who won their second consecutive Division IV state championship.
Westchester was the only team this season to beat Horizon (32-1), which had five players score in double figures and offset an eight-of-18 shooting performance at the free-throw line by making 33 of 66 shots from the field.
Dewese Hughes had 18 points on nine-of-12 shooting for Hercules (25-9), which was making its first appearance in a state championship game. The Titans’ inexperience showed in the first half as Horizon rolled to a 43-20 halftime lead.