Spartan comeback doesn't extend to overtime

TORRANCE — It looked like the La Cañada High boys' basketball team was destined for a trip to the semifinals as it overcame an eight-point, fourth-quarter deficit on the road to force overtime.

Even with all the momentum, La Cañada came out flat in the extra frame, while South Torrance played cool and calm en route to picking up the win, 59-58, at home in the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA quarterfinals.

Turnovers killed La Cañada in the final four minutes as they had all game. La Cañada (17-11) turned over its first four possessions in overtime as South Torrance (18-11) got out to a six-point lead and never looked back.

"I just thought we didn't have that composure when we had the ball," said La Cañada Coach Tom Hofman, whose team committed 26 turnovers to South Torrance's 12. "We didn't have good shots, they were just running out there. It's hard because it's a lot of pressure out there.

"That's a good team and we knew it was going to be close and it was going to be exciting. Last year we were winning these [close] games and this year we've been on the other side of it. It's a little harder."

South Torrance Coach Leo Klemm made sure his team went into overtime calm after blowing its fourth-quarter advantage.

"It was just a matter of keeping my boys' spirits in the right frame of mind because as teenagers they were frustrated they lost the lead there," Klemm said. "I just took the time between regulation and overtime to create a relaxation technique to settle them down and it obviously worked because they played well in the overtime."

Overtime seemed to bring out a whole new team in La Cañada after it used a 12-4 run in the final six-and-a-half minutes of regulation to erase a 47-39 deficit.

The run was sparked from deep by La Cañada's Jay Srinivasan, who he hit a three-pointer with 5:53 to go to cut South Torrance's lead to 47-44. He connected again about a minute and a half later to bring his team within one, 48-47.

Darrell Dansby, who finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks, finally brought La Cañada even at 51 with 13 seconds to go in the game when he took a back-door pass from Boyd and laid it up and in.

South Torrance's Jake Ly took the ensuing inbound pass, ran up the floor and pulled up for a three that was just off as Dansby got a hand in his face to force overtime.

La Cañada saw South Torrance get out to a 57-51 lead with 41 seconds left in overtime after it turned the ball over on its first four possessions.

"I don't know what happened in overtime, we just gave up six uncontested points and had to try and come back with two minutes left, which is hard to do," said Boyd, who finished with a double-double of 12 points and 14 rebounds.

La Cañada began fouling hoping for a comeback, but it wasn't there despite a buzzer-beating three off the glass from Srinivasan.

"It was an up-and-down game all game," said Srinivasan, who finished tied for a game-high 15 points with Ly. "We were confident all game — during the game, before the game — but they just played a little better."

La Cañada also overcome an early 10-point hole, 14-4, five minutes into the game.

"I was really proud of the kids, because we could have been blown out right away," Hofman said. "It didn't look too good early, but we were right in it."

La Cañada regrouped after a timeout and tied the game up with a 10-0 run, capped by an easy layup from Boyd out of an inbound play.

Dansby carried La Cañada through the first quarter, scoring nine of his team's first 14 points.

The second quarter was tightly contested, featuring four ties and three lead changes.

La Cañada took its biggest lead of the game when Tim Kim (nine points) hit a free throw to give his squad a 22-18 lead with 4:27 to go in the half.

South Torrance battled back to tie the game at 30 going into halftime and rode the momentum out to a 43-37 edge going into the fourth quarter.

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