Ribet Academy 42, Huntington Park 41 (OT)By Dave Keefer
The Fighting Frogs from Ribet Academy survived, 42-41, in overtime to win the Bronze Division Championship over the host Spartans of Huntington Park in the Huntington Park Winter Tournament. It was a low scoring battle but high in excitement, as both teams battled back and forth all game to come out on top.
Huntington Park opened the game with two quick three-pointers from David Jeronimo and Ralph Cervantes, sandwiched around a three by Ribet's Amir Kamgar, to take a 6-3 lead. Scoring slowed after that but Ribet eventually tied the game at 6-6. The Spartans regained the lead and earned their largest lead of the game, 11-6, after another three by Cervantes (who totaled five 3's in the game).
The quarter ended at 11-8 and Huntington Park would total only 5 points in the next two quarters combined. Ribet Academy took its first lead of the game after a three-point play by Bono Zekan made it 13-12. But Cervantes got a deuce at the buzzer and Huntington Park had a 14-13 lead at halftime.
Huntington Park got only one bucket in the 3rd quarter and Ribet took advantage. Zekan's layin gave Ribet a 15-14 lead and was the first of 8 straight points scored by his team. When Brandon Robinson nailed a three and followed with a 2-point jumper, Ribet led 21-14 with 2:10 left in the quarter.
Huntington Park finally got its only points of the quarter when Jesse Palomera hit Roger Ferrer with a nice feed for a hoop at the 1:45 mark. Kamgar answered with a putback and Ribet led after three quarters, 23-16, their largest lead of the game.
Jerry Pena went coast to coast for a layup to open the scoring in the final quarter and it was 23-18. But Zekan got a layin to restore Ribet's 7-point lead, 25-18, at the 7:15 mark. Cervantes woke up the Spartan offense with a couple of three-pointers and cut his team's deficit to three, 27-24. But a Robinson layin at the 3:40 mark put Ribet back into a 7-point lead, 31-24.
Huntington Park kept coming and got the next 6 points to trail only 31-30 after two free throws from Pena with 1:29 left in regulation. Robinson answered with two freebies to make it 33-30 with 1:17 on the game clock. Then both Palomera and teammate Pena launched three-pointers in an effort to tie the game, but both missed their mark.
As the clock wound down, Huntington Park fouled Zekan and he went to the line for two free throws with only 17 seconds left. He missed them both and Huntington Park stayed alive. They worked the ball around the perimeter looking for an open three-point attempt that could tie the game. Nothing really opened up and Palomera had to improvise, as he maneuvered by a defender and launched a runner off one foot from behind the arc. The shot went in and sent the game into overtime.
Zekan made amends for his missed free throws near the end of regulation by hitting two at the 3:10 mark of the 4-minute overtime, and Ribet led 35-33. But Cervantes was still hot and sank another three-pointer to give Huntington Park a 36-35 lead with 2:40 to go. Then Ribet's Ricky Cors, who had been scoreless while helping to direct the offense, stepped up bigtime. He connected from three-point land to make it 38-36 and Ribet never trailed again.
Ribet regained possession but Ferrer got a steal and layup for Huntington Park and the game was tied, 38-38, with 2 minutes left. Kamgar got a putback with 1:35 left and teammate Cors was later fouled and went to the line for a 1-and-1 opportunity with 1:18 on the clock. He calmly hit both ends and Ribet had a 2-possession lead, 42-38.
But Huntington Park wasn't going away, as Palomera nailed a huge three to make it 42-41 and the Spartans regained possession after a missed shot by Robinson and called time out with 41 seconds on the game clock. When play resumed they couldn't free up a good shot and the shot clock was about to expire.
They fired up a desperation three-pointer as the shot clock buzzer went off and the shot missed badly and Ribet rebounded with 10 seconds left in the game. Zekan was fouled and went to the line for a 1-and-1 with 9 seconds to go. He missed the front end and Huntington Park rebounded and called time out with 8 seconds left.
When play resumed, Palomera drove for a score but was fouled. He had two free throws coming with 4 seconds left in the game. Two would win the game probably, and one would tie. But both shots rimmed out and time expired when Ribet rebounded and avoided getting fouled.
This game didn't feature a lot of offense but it was very well played and it was tough to see either team have to lose. Zekan led Ribet Academy in scoring with 17 points, while Robinson had 11. Kamgar added 9. For the hard luck losers, Cervantes had a game high 19 points but had little help from teammates, as he tallied nearly half of the team total.
Score by Quarters:
Ribet Academy-----08-05-10-10-09 = 42
Huntington Park---11-03-02-17-08 = 41
Ribet Academy (42): 33-Amir Kamgar 9, 34-Bono Zekan 17, 1-Brandon Robinson 11, 44-Ricky Cors 5.
Huntington Park (41): 12-Ralph Cervantes 19, 2-David Jeronimo 3, 5-Daniel Hamilton 2, 24-Jesse Palomera 6, 25-Jerry Pena 4, 31-Roger Ferrer 6, 35-Javonntie Jackson 1.
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