There are many things the Southwest High School boys basketball team could consider the determining factor in its 57-55 loss to Imperial High in El Centro on Tuesday, but what really killed it was free throws.
The Eagles finished a not pretty 18-of-30 from the charity stripe.
Southwest had an opportunity to tie the game in the waning moments, but an errant pass sailed into the backcourt ending its hopes.
The Tigers led through most of the game, but a late Eagle surge made the game close.
Said Imperial coach Dave Milan: "Southwest is a very scrappy team and they played some pretty good defense against us."
While Imperial led throughout, the Eagles didn't ever allow the Tigers more than an eight-point advantage.
Milan said what hurt his team's chance of putting away the game early was missed shots.
"We've got to make shots. Right now we're not making the shots we need to," said Milan. "For some reason we just don't have that killer instinct."