Not much separated the Santa Ana Mater Dei and the Lakewood Artesia boys' basketball teams heading into their showdown Friday night in the championship game of the Orange Holiday Classic.
Only one thing was resolved during the 32 minutes they played in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Chapman University.
They both need to work on their play down the stretch.
Artesia (13-0), ranked No. 2 in the Southland by The Times and No. 8 in the nation by USA Today, rallied from a 13-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter and defeated the Monarchs, 58-57.
Mater Dei (14-1), ranked No. 1 by The Times and No. 7 by USA Today, shot airballs on its last two possessions.
The last two minutes were a combination of turnovers, missed dunks, airballs and missed free throws.
Malik Story made consecutive three-point baskets to tie the score at 54-54 with 3:02 left.
Story then shot an airball on a three-point attempt with two minutes left, but Lorenzo McCloud caught the ball out of the air and put it in to give Artesia a 58-54 lead and complete a 13-0 run.
Kamyron Brown scored on a fast break to cut the lead to 58-57 with a minute left, but he was called for a carrying violation on the next possession.
The Monarchs also missed seven of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter.
"They were tired," said Story, who finished with 10 points. "We just kept running them."
Renardo Sidney, a 6-foot-9 sophomore forward had 16 points and 17 rebounds to lead Artesia.
Brown scored 15 points and Taylor King had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Monarchs.