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August 18, 2013
Semifinal: Next Level 105, BTI Lab 101By Dave Rogahn
Shelton Boykin (LB Poly/Antelope Valley) scored 36 points and his Next Level Program squad rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit to earn a berth in the championship game of the Say No Classic with a 105-101 win over top-seeded BTI Lab.
They'll take on 7th seed West Coast Hoops, which posted a 98-86 win over Spirit of the North in the first semifinal game Saturday at Salesian HS.
Boykin had 36 points and 10 rebounds as Next Level won its 9th straight game. Not coincidentally, it was the 9th game Boykin played, joining the team after it began the summer 0-3.
Next Level had to also rally in this game, falling behind early and trailing by as many as 14 points at 75-61 late in the third quarter.
BTI build a 26-15 lead after a slam dunk by Chris Eversley (Cal Poly SLO) late in the first half. Next Level rallied to take a 35-34 lead early in the second quarter after a steal & lay-up by Boykin, but BTI went right back in front and led by as many as 13 points at 48-35 after a score by Austin Mills (Pepperdine) before settling for an 8-point halftime lead.
Then BTI pushed its lead to 14 points after a pair of free throws by Jordan Gathers (St. Bonaventure) that made it 75-61.
But Next Level rallied, cutting the deficit to six points at one point after a driving lay-up by Josh Gouch (Cal State San Bernardino), and trailed by 8 entering the final quarter after a 3-pointer by Dakota Pierce (Thousand Oaks/MIT) to end the third quarter.
Next Level's momentum carried into the fourth quarter, with Gouch cutting the deficit to four points on a driving lay-up that made it 88-84 early in the fourth quarter.
Next Level finally tied the score at 90 on a putback basket by Boykin midway through the fourth quarter, and took a lead moments later on two free throws by Gouch with 4:56 left that made it 92-90. BTI went back in front on a 3-pointer by Nick Stover (Loyola-Marymount) that made it 95-92.
But Next Level tied it at 96 on a 3-pointer by Jason Johnson (Cal State San Marcos) and the game went into the final minute tied at 98.
BTI got a free throw from Stover to take a 99-98 lead with 48.6 seconds left. But Next Level went in front on a slam dunk by Milton Watts (Lindsey Wilson) and never trailed again.
Johnson made two free throws with 9.8 seconds left to make it 104-101, and after Gathers missed a would-be game-tying 3-pointer, Sam Natt (Mt. San Jacinto) gathered the rebound, was fouled and clinched the win with a free throw with exactly one second left.
Boykin led all scorers with his 36 points, and he added 10 rebounds for the double-double. Johnson had 29 points and 5 assists. Gouch added 19 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals. Watts had 9 points and a team-high 13 rebounds.
For BTI, Eversley had a team-high 22 points and also had 14 rebounds, 4 assists, a block and a steal. BTI's seven-foot center Myron Smith (St. Bonaventure) had 21 points, 18 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Dion Wright (St. Bonaventure) had 20 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists. Stover had 17 points and Gathers scored 12.
For the best and authoritative coverage of JC hoops, check out Dave Rogahn's JC Hoops website: Click Here