With 2 1/2 minutes left and No. 1-ranked Santa Ana Mater Dei tied with Etiwanda in a Southern Section Division I-AA semifinal Friday night, Tyler Lamb was told by his coach, Gary McKnight, to do what he does best -- take charge.
“Coach put the ball in my hands, and I had to come through,” the UCLA-bound junior guard said.
He contributed two baskets, and his guard mate, Gary Franklin Jr., had a three-point basket to help Mater Dei (30-0) pull away for a 70-60 victory in front of an overflow crowd at Fontana Miller High.
The score was tied at 54, tied at 56 and tied at 58 until the Monarchs (30-0) put together a 9-0 run. Lamb scored 12 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter. Franklin finished with 21 points and David Wear had 17.
Etiwanda (25-5) received 16 points and 12 rebounds from Perris Blackwell and 16 points from Jordan Finn. Etiwanda out-rebounded the taller Monarchs, 31-26, but 19 turnovers were the Eagles’ undoing.
“At this point, there are no bad teams,” Lamb said of the Monarchs’ second consecutive close game. “Every game we’re capable of losing.”
Etiwanda held a 32-28 halftime lead and was up, 42-37, in the third quarter. McKnight had to call two timeouts and briefly put his team in a zone defense. The 6-foot-10 Wear twins, David and Travis, came alive, with each scoring three baskets in the third quarter.
Mater Dei took a 50-44 lead in the fourth quarter, but Etiwanda rallied behind Blackwell and DeRonn Scott (14 points). It was back-and-forth until Lamb asserted himself. Mater Dei will play Riverside King in next Saturday’s final at the Honda Center.
-- Eric Sondheimer
Riverside King 76, Compton Dominguez 70 -- Kawhi Leonard and Tony Snell aren’t related, but the King senior forwards had their Dominguez counterparts seeing double.
Double-double, that is.
Leonard had 31 points and 17 rebounds and Snell had 22 points and 16 rebounds to lead the second-seeded Wolves (26-2) in the Division I-AA semifinal at Moreno Valley Rancho Verde High.
After leading by as many 14 points early in the fourth quarter, King held off a late charge from third-seeded Dominguez (25-6), which pulled to within five points on Myron Green’s three-pointer with 48 seconds left.
But Snell made two free throws and then a put-back to secure the victory for the Wolves, who had lost twice to the Dons last season. Junior guard Keala King had 21 points for Dominguez.
Leonard, who has signed with San Diego State, scored 13 points in the third quarter.
King will try to avenge last season’s loss to Mater Dei next Saturday in the final.
-- Ben Bolch