CARLSBAD Jesse Wright’s role is pretty simple.
Whenever the Carlsbad High boys basketball team needs a surge, in comes Wright off the bench.
And the 6-foot-1 senior guard’s job is to score.
“Coach says I should never pass up a wide-open shot, even a 3-pointer and even if I’m 0-for-5,” Wright said. “Just keep shooting.”
That’s what Wright did Wednesday night, scoring 11 points in the final quarter, including three 3-pointers, to help the Lancers hold off Grossmont 52-43 in the opening round of the San Diego Section Division I playoffs.
The win on Costume Night at Carlsbad sends the Lancers (17-12) into Saturday’s quarterfinals at Torrey Pines.
“Playoffs are awesome,” Wright said. “We haven’t been here in a while, so getting a chance to play is great.
“It’s one game at a time from here on out.”
Grossmont (14-12) arrived at the gym at tip-off time after the bus was stuck in a traffic jam on Interstate 5 because of an officer-involved shooting in Encinitas.
At times, it was hard to tell which team was stuck on the bus. Carlsbad committed 20 turnovers. Grossmont, which shot 12-for-45 from the field, had 26 turnovers.
Holding a 32-27 lead after three quarters, Carlsbad opened the final stanza with Wright’s jumper and a quick 3-pointer for a 37-27 lead.
Grossmont, which got 14 points and 10 rebounds from senior Bilal Rahim, countered and trailed 38-32 before Wright nailed his final two 3-pointers for a 44-32 lead.
The Foothillers made one last push and closed the gap to 46-41 with 1:56 to go before the Lancers converted six of their final 10 free throws to clinch the win.
“Every point was a struggle,” Carlsbad coach Scott Ogden said. “Just a couple of easy baskets would have helped.”
The only easy baskets came from Wright, who made all four of Carlsbad’s field goals in the last quarter.