Cats limp to finish

PASADENA — The regular season mercifully ended with the Renaissance Academy boys' basketball team likely skidding sideways into the CIF Southern Section Division 6 playoffs.

The Wildcats were held to just nine points in the fourth quarter of a 57-56 loss to Ribet Academy at the Pasadena Boys' and Girls' Club on Tuesday night to fall to 19-6 and finish 1-2 for third place in the Harbor League's gold division.

As the third-place team in their league's division, the Wildcats, who are ranked atop Division 6, are still likely to get an at-large playoff berth, according to Coach Sid Cooke, but that was of little consolation to the coach, who has seen his team end the regular season on a three-game skid, while losing four of its last six overall.

"We'll find out Sunday [about playoffs] from CIF," Cooke said. "At this point I don't care. The way we're playing, I'm just tired of this. We're giving games away, now I don't even want to deal with it. It's ridiculous because they're not paying attention and we just miss free throws, crucial shots."

The Wildcats trailed by as many as four points inside the final three minutes, but pulled to within one with a three-pointer by Vince De Guzman (15 points) at the 1:34 mark and back to within 57-56 on two free throws by Troy Fontanilla with 42 seconds left.

Ribet's ensuing possession was drawn out by a Renaissance foul and gave the Frogs (13-9, 2-1) the ball out of bounds on the sideline with just over 10 seconds left on the game clock and five seconds on the shot clock. Ribet's Tyler Dorsey, who led all scorers with 25 points, let about three seconds tick off before hoisting up a three-pointer that missed badly.

Jessy Cantinol, who scored 15 points for Renaissance, grabbed the rebound and passed up the floor trying to push the ball up for a quick shot, but the clock ran out on the Wildcats.

Cooke said he liked the Wildcats' odds better in transition than in the halfcourt out of a timeout against Ribet's size advantage, led by the 6-foot-4 Dorsey and hulking 6-10 center Idrissa Diallo.

"We wanted to get [the Frogs] scrambling, get it back and get it up," Cooke said. "With their big guys set, it was going to be hard to score. I wanted to get a good look."

Renaissance held a three-point lead over the Frogs going into the fourth quarter and still led, 49-46, with six minutes left, but then missed a pair of free throws for a chance to stretch the lead.

Ribet's Brandon Robinson muscled his way inside for a layup that cut the lead to one with 5:20 left and it was Robinson again scoring on a wild twisting layup to capitalize on a Renaissance turnover with 4:15 left.

On the next play, Fontanilla found Cantinol on a cut down the middle of the lane for an easy layup with 3:20 to play, but it was the last time the Wildcats would hold the lead.

Dorsey answered right back on a drive to the cup and Robinson's three from the corner made it 55-51 with 2:40 left. The Wildcats' next two possessions ended in a missed three-point attempt and then a blocked shot and ball out of bounds off Renaissance, but each was followed up by a defensive stop, leading to De Guzman's three to cut it to one.

"We didn't make our free throws, we didn't get our assignments, we didn't switch — I think we're better than that," Cooke said. "We're just not tough mentally. If we make some free throws, we win the game.

"Hopefully we'll get better. Division 6 I don't think is that tough."

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