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Tigers rally past Eagles

January 06, 2001|By JON HINSHAW, Sports Writer

IMPERIAL — With the Southwest High School boys basketball team holding a two-point edge with five seconds remaining, Imperial needed a big play to recapture what it had the entire game — the advantage.

Imperial's Matt Taylor nailed a fade-away jump shot as time expired to knot the game and force overtime. The extra four minutes proved fatal for the Eagles as Imperial registered a 59-52 win on its home floor Friday.

"I just threw it up there," said Taylor, who led the Tigers with 17 points and eight steals. "We wanted a lay-up on the play because I'm not that great of a shooter. I'm just happy that the defense was in the way because then I had to shoot and it went down."

Taylor's final shot was set up by a wild final quarter that featured five lead changes. Southwest's Bradley Goff hit back-to-back three-pointers to open the stanza and gave his squad a 43-40 lead. Goff had a game-high 25 points, which included eight three-pointers.


Imperial responded with a 4-0 run for a 44-43 lead. The Eagles' J.R. Yanes hit a lay-up to retake the lead and Brenden Lopez, who finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds, converted a basket for the Tigers for another lead change. Southwest's Paul Rubio nailed his second three-pointer to give his squad its final lead of 48-46 with 2:27 remaining. The squads traded stops and turnovers before Imperial was forced to foul Yanes with five seconds remaining after he grabbed his sixth rebound.

Yanes went to the line in a bonus situation but missed and Lopez grabbed the board and called time-out. Imperial set up a full-court play that moved the ball to the front court and upon gaining possession called another time-out to set up another play with four seconds remaining. Lopez tossed the ball toward the opposite side of the floor near the baseline to Taylor, whose path to the basket was blocked. Taylor dribbled before pulling up from about 12 feet and hitting the game-tying shot.

"We got a second life because we were dead," Tiger coach David Milan said. "We played about one quarter of good ball through regulation. They took it to us in the second half, but we hung in there and pulled it out at the end of the fourth quarter and overtime."

The extra four minutes belonged to Imperial as it crashed the boards and defended nearly every Eagle advance. The Tigers scored the first four points of overtime and, following a pair of free throws by Lance Brandenburg, outscored Southwest 7-2 the rest of way. Taylor scored five points and Imperial had five offensive rebounds and four of its 25 total steals in overtime.

"Our defense got them frustrated. They were already winded but in overtime we had them breathless," Taylor said. "The crowd also had something to do with it. Our team needed a lift and the crowd really did it."

Imperial (6-8) had a 32-26 halftime lead and stayed in front of Southwest (3-9) until the final period.

The Eagles stayed close behind Goff's offense and the dirty work inside by Cory Williams, who had eight points and 11 rebounds, and Rick Lopez, who had four points and 13 boards. That trio cut the lead to 40-37 to begin the fourth quarter before Goff nailed his threes to take the lead.

"It was a great game," Southwest coach Marty Zwart said. "We've had a couple tough games in a row now where we haven't pulled through. We're going to use this game to get ready for league because it's not how you start it's how you finish. I was pleased with our effort but we couldn't pull it out. Imperial really played their hearts out tonight."

Both squads return to action at 7 p.m. Tuesday when they have a rematch at Southwest in El Centro.

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