Sargeant shoots, scores for Sailors

In an age when teenagers post trivial videos online, Nic Sargeant has a highlight that would make your jaw drop if you saw it. He hasn't even watched it. He just lived it.

More than a week has passed since Sargeant, from just inside midcourt, made a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer for the Newport Harbor High boys' basketball team. He cannot get his hands on the footage until next week, when the Sailors play Marina again. Coach Bob Torribio doesn't allow his team to dwell on the past, only if the Sailors need to break down film on the same opponent again.

For now, Torribio just describes how it all went down, how 4.6 seconds proved to be enough time for Sargeant to stun Marina, 56-55, in front of the home fans.

"Get the ball to Nic was the first option, but we wanted to throw the ball down the floor to our big [6-foot-4] guy and have Garrett Davis catch it," Torribio said. "It's a play we've probably run at the end of most practices, game-winning situations. Give our guy credit, Joey Faris took it out [from underneath the basket and] threw a great pass to Garrett [near the half-court line]. He caught it and had a couple of guys around him. The play was supposed to go deep. Nic couldn't go deep, so he comes back and Garrett was smart enough to give it to Nic. Nic goes the other way, opposite of the way I drew it up, and he's got two guys on him."

The original plan doesn't work out. What do you expect from the senior guard some coaches call unpredictable, because he can score in so many ways? With the game on the line, Sargeant just improvises and comes up with something better, something that keeps the Sailors in third place in the Sunset League.

Sargeant splits the two defenders at half court and races to take the game's final shot. Before he can, he gets rid of another defender with a pump fake and the defender flies past him. With one second left and three defenders nearby, Sargeant gets the shot off and it hits the back of the rim and goes in as the buzzer sounds.

This is the kind of moment Sargeant lives for and why he plays basketball. Visually he has played this moment in his head, him knocking down the game-winning shot.

But what to do next? How would he celebrate? Sargeant turned to the crowd, throwing his arms up and sticking his chest out. He didn't see many faces in the stands.

"It was finals week, so there wasn't a lot of people there," said Sargeant, who finished with 20 points and three three-pointers. "I kind of felt really dumb, but then my teammates ran over and they just tackled me."

Fans also joined in on the fun, jumping on top of Sargeant, who made his way to the first row of the bleachers. The win turned out to be critical, the start of a four-game stretch in which the Sailors (14-11, 5-3 in league) prevailed three times.

In all three wins, Sargeant played a vital role, whether by scoring or rebounding. They began last week by topping Marina, then prevailing at Huntington Beach, 56-45, the Sailors' first win at Huntington Beach in four seasons.

Friday, behind Sargeant's 27-point performance, his third of the season, the Sailors reached one of their goals. They clinched one of the league's three automatic berths into the CIF Southern Section playoffs by defeating Fountain Valley, 72-65, at home.

It has been six seasons since Newport Harbor last placed in the top three in league.

Going into the final week of the regular season, the school can finish above .500 in league for the first time since the 2007-08 season. That season also marks the last time the Sailors finished with more overall wins than losses.

Two league games remain for Newport Harbor: at home against first-place Los Alamitos on Tuesday, followed by a visit to Marina on Thursday. Sargeant, the team's only returning starter, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure the Sailors close out league play strong, before they open the Division 2AA playoffs. He's that competitive, always wanting to win.

Before all of that, Sargeant hopes he can see his game-winning three against Marina. A copy for the three-year starter would be nice, too.

"We'll see it when we watch the Marina tape," Torribio said with a smile.

Nic Sargeant

Born: May 13, 1995

Hometown: Newport Beach

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 165 pounds

Sport: Basketball

Year: Senior

Coach: Bob Torribio

Favorite food: Burger and fries

Favorite movie: "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Favorite athletic moment: Winning the Battle of the Bay last season in volleyball at Corona del Mar.

Week in review: From just inside half court, Sargeant made a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer, lifting the host Sailors to a 56-55 win against Marina in a Sunset League game. He also finished with nine points and 12 rebounds in the Sailors' 56-45 win at Huntington Beach, their first win at Huntington Beach in four seasons.

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