The regular season provided foreshadowing for what would transpire in the CIF Southern Section Division 4AA boys’ basketball final.
In two San Joaquin League games, Pacifica Christian Orange County High and Fairmont Prep went to overtime twice, with the Huskies winning both of those games.
As the Tritons rallied late, it looked like yet another game between the two teams might need an extra session, but Solomon Davis’ three-pointer in the final seconds did not fall.
Out of the crowd beneath the basket came Atin Wright with the basketball. The junior guard ignited the Huskies’ offense after they fell behind early.
Wright had 28 points on six three-pointers, helping Fairmont Prep (25-7) sink rival Pacifica Christian (23-8) 52-49 in the CIF finals on Saturday night at Godinez High.
“We were able to play good defense, get stops, get rebounds,” Wright said. “It wasn’t even about the scoring. We just had to get stops and play with heart. That’s what we did, and we won.”
In its previous trip to the CIF finals, Pacifica Christian lost to Riverside Carnegie 75-45 in the Division 6 championship game in 2017.
The Tritons had the hot hand to start. Davis, who had a team-high 20 points, dropped in a layup off the opening tip. Then Judah Brown, Timmy Bahadoor and Davis all made shots from beyond the arc to put Pacifica Christian up 11-2 at the 3:46 mark of the first quarter.
Fairmont Prep earned extra possessions on the offensive boards, and it knotted the score at 11-11 at the end of the period.
The second quarter belonged to the Huskies, as Wright caught fire from distance. He hit a fadeaway three-pointer to begin his run, which accounted for Fairmont Prep’s first lead of 18-17 at the 4:46 mark of the frame.
Wright had 11 points in the second quarter. When he hit his second three of the quarter with 1:19 left in the half, there was a swagger in his jog back on defense. The next time down, he hit another three to put the Huskies up 29-19, which was the margin at the half.
“Once I see the ball go in once, it’s a wrap,” Wright said. “It’s a wrap for the other team. I just have to keep my rhythm going and get the shots up.”
Pacifica Christian closed the third quarter on an 11-2 run in the final 2:28, bringing the Huskies’ lead down to 39-36. The Tritons also earned the bonus with 12 seconds left in the period.
Tritons coach Jeff Berokoff said that he wanted his team to play at a quick pace, and his team played with boundless energy in the second half. In the fourth quarter, Brown came up with a chase-down blocked shot on the defensive end before cleaning up a three-point miss on the offensive glass for two points.
Once down 37-25 following a left-handed jump hook shot by Pape Cisse with 2:41 remaining in the third quarter, the Tritons battled all the way back to take the lead. Brown found Houston Mallette in the left corner for a three-pointer that gave the Tritons a 49-48 lead with 1:11 to go.
Wright quickly put the Huskies back ahead with two free throws seven seconds later, and the Tritons did not score again.
CIF Southern Section Division 4AA playoffs
Fairmont Prep 52, Pacifica Christian 49
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Pacifica Christian 11 – 8 – 17 – 13 — 49
Fairmont Prep 11 – 18 – 10 – 13 — 52
PC – Davis 20, Brown 12, Mallette 10, Sims 4, Bahadoor 3.
3-pt. goals – Davis 1, Brown 1, Mallette 1, Bahadoor 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – None.
FP – Wright 28, Aboagye 14, Cisse 8, Jemerson 2.
3-pt. goals – Wright 6, Aboagye 1.
Fouled out – None.