by Evan Barnes, @Evan_b on Twitter (L.A. Daily News)
MISSION HILLS >> The ball was in Shacquille Dawkins’ hands. The Alemany guard that hated losing as much as anyone head coach Tray Meeks had coached.
Crespi had just tied the game with a 3-pointer and Meeks refused to call timeout. With time winding down, Dawkins dribbled and waited before making his move.
The senior pulled up for a long 3-pointer and with 2.2 seconds left, his shot was true and Alemany prevailed 66-63 for a Mission League home win.
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It was Dawkins’ seventh 3-pointer of the game, capping a 30-point, seven-steal performance on Senior Night for Alemany (20-6, 10-1).
“I knew it was going in,” Dawkins said, “One of my teammates called the play out from the bench and I trusted everyone, so it gave me the confidence to knock it down.”
Crespi defeated Alemany by 20 points in their first meeting two weeks ago but this game was a far closer affair. Alemany led by 10 in the first quarter and Crespi led by nine in the third only to see both leads slip away.
A 3-pointer by Crespi’s Taj Regans with 32 seconds left tied the game at 63 after the Celts rallied from being down five in the fourth. De’Anthony Melton had a chance at a game-winning 3-pointer, but his shot was wide at the buzzer.
The ending was not without controversy as Alemany’s student section rushed the court after Dawkins’ shot. After the court was cleared, the Alemany scorekeeper accidentally sounded the horn before Crespi (23-3, 9-2) inbounded, forcing them to reset before the final play.
The referees did not charge Alemany with a technical foul. While Crespi was upset afterwards, the team placed the blame on itself.
“Our defense hasn’t been good the last few games, so this tells us we need to get back to basics,” Melton said.
Melton scored 27 points and snared 18 rebounds with three blocks in a stellar all-around effort in front of his future college coach, USC’s Andy Enfield. Regans had 15 points on five 3-pointers.
The night belonged to Alemany, which had several players step up while playing with four fouls. Charlie Brady hit two free throws in the fourth quarter and DJ McDonald added a 3-pointer with 2:15 left to push Alemany to a 60-56 lead.
“I am so proud of these guys,” Meeks said, “Down the stretch we did a lot of little things well, and this absolutely gets you ready for the playoffs.”[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]