WILDOMAR — Despite so many things going wrong Saturday night, the Elsinore High boys basketball team still found itself in a good position late in its second round CIF Southern California Division II regional quarterfinal game.
Trailing by one point with less than a minute remaining, the ball was in the capable hands of Tigers senior guard E.J. Twyman.
"I had my chances, but I didn't make it happen," Twyman said.
Twyman scored a game-high 36 points but missed a potential go-ahead layup, and later turned the ball over, as Inglewood escaped with a 60-55 victory over Elsinore.
Inglewood (23-10) advanced to Tuesday's semifinals with the victory. Elsinore finished its season with a record of 28-5 and its first-ever state-tournament appearance.
Twyman, who was hampered with foul trouble all game, scored 11 points in little more than two minutes to help Elsinore whittle a nine-point deficit to just one, 54-53, with 2:19 remaining.
The Tigers collected a defensive rebound and gave the ball to Twyman, who drove hard to the basket with 55 seconds left. But his attempt was errant, and so was an offensive rebound attempt by the Tigers.
Inglewood made a pair of free throws to extend the lead to three. The Sentinals then put on a full-court press, and Twyman dribbled the ball off of his foot, giving the ball back to Inglewood with 23 seconds left.
The Tigers had one last chance to tie the score, or cut the deficit to one. Two Twyman free throws made it 58-55. With 20 seconds left, Allan Stubbs stole Inglewood's inbound pass. Instead of passing the ball out to Twyman or shooting guard Lawrence Chamberlain (13 points) for a possible game-tying 3-point attempt, Stubbs threw it down low to Daniel Dedeaux.
But his pass was stole by Inglewood, forcing the Tigers to foul. Kristopher Randall made two free throws for the Sentinels in the closing seconds to seal the win.
"We still had enough time to score a basket and foul, and still get the ball again," Stubbs said. "They did a good job of stepping in front of my pass and picking it off."
Twyman was credited with three fouls in the first quarter, sending him to the bench with less than three minutes remaining. Elsinore led by three at the time. When he returned to begin the second quarter, the Tigers trailed by three.
Elsinore trailed 31-29 when Twyman was whistled for an offensive foul with six minutes, 36 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
He sat the next four minutes. When he was inserted, he scored five quick points, including a long 3 from the top of the key that gave the Tigers their last lead, 38-36, with two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Inglewood scored the last six points of the third quarter, then went on a 7-2 run to begin the fourth to extend its lead to 49-40 with five minutes left.
Nicholas Smiley, who led Inglewood with 22 points, scored seven fourth-quarter points, including a powerful one-handed slam dunk with 5:20 remaining.
"We turned the ball over down the stretch, and they made their free throws," said Twyman, who made seven 3-point baskets. "You have to give them a lot of credit."