Jack Strohman is a senior captain and guard for the Sage Hill School boys’ basketball team.
He’s also a left-hander, so when he got the ball going to his left in the final seconds of Tuesday night’s CIF State Southern California Regional Division V first-round playoff game, he was confident.
Strohman took the handoff from teammate Mitchell Frye and went around a high screen from Sage Hill senior center Johnny King.
His off-balance jumper from behind the left elbow was true, and the buzzer-beater lifted the No. 5-seeded Lightning to a 63-62 victory over No. 12 North Hollywood Oakwood at home.
The Lightning (23-11), playing in their first regional tournament in program history, were able to advance. They earned a rematch.
Sage Hill will travel to No. 4-seeded Oxnard Santa Clara on Thursday night in a regional quarterfinal, a rematch of Saturday’s CIF Southern Section Division 5AA title game won 68-52 by Santa Clara.
Strohman, who scored nine of his 11 points after halftime, helped the Lightning keep the season alive.
“I’ve hit a couple of [game-tying shots], but that was my first game winner,” Strohman said. “I went left, I tried to get all the way to the rim but the guy kind of played off me so I went to the pull-up … Coach drew up a great play to let me go left and get to my shot. That’s probably my best shot, from the left elbow, so it was perfect. As soon as it came out of my hand, I knew it was going in.
“It’s awesome. I can’t really describe it. I’m just happy we’re moving on. The season’s on the line and it’s my senior year. I’m just happy my high school career’s not over yet, you know?”
Junior forward Ryan Hosseinzadeh had a team-high 17 points for Sage Hill before fouling out in the fourth quarter. King added 16 points for the Lightning.
Sage Hill led for much of the game, but had to rally late. King scored five points in the final two minutes, as the Lightning scored the final seven points. They had fallen behind 62-56 with 2:45 remaining on a layup by Oakwood’s Colin Love.
King had a three-point play with 1:31 remaining to trim the Lightning’s deficit to three points, then a basket in the lane with 50 seconds left to pull Sage Hill within 62-61.
Oakwood junior center Aidan Oliver’s contested jumper from the corner went out of bounds with 12 seconds left, giving the Lightning an opportunity to win the game.
Oliver scored a game-high 35 points for Oakwood (16-11), 28 of those coming in the first half.
“We tried to put a little bit more pressure on them in the backcourt and not allow them to walk into their offense and get into their sets,” Sage Hill coach Billy Conlon said. “We tried everything in the first half … and he was just great. He was a really tough cover … but give credit to them, their other guys stepped up and made shots in the second half.”
Conlon said that Sage Hill is excited for a rematch with Santa Clara, which routed No. 13 Escondido San Pasqual 78-44 in another first-round game on Tuesday.
“It’s a resilient group that just finds a way,” Conlon said. “They don’t want the season to end, so they’re going to push through it. It might not have been our best performance tonight, but we’ll find ways to pull one out.”
CIF State Southern California Regional Division V playoffs
Sage Hill 63, Oakwood 62
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Oakwood 17 – 18 – 19 – 8 — 62
Sage Hill 22 – 17 – 14 – 10 — 63
O – Oliver 35, Love 11, Buckley 7, Silverman 5, Tessaro 3, Wheeler 1.
3-pt. goals – Love 2, Silverman 1, Buckley 1, Tessaro 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – None.
SH – Hosseinzadeh 17, King 16, Strohman 11, Frye 7, Desbans 6, Green 4, Cuff 2.
3-pt. goals – Hosseinzadeh 3, Desbans 1.
Fouled out – Hosseinzadeh.