Torrey Pines’ Sam Worman, who scored a team-high 20 points, tries to shoot over Hoover’s Harrison Gipson.
Torrey Pines’ playoff hopes hinged upon their defense.
Trailing three possessions, the No. 4 Falcons forced two consecutive Hoover turnovers and rebounded a perimeter attempt, which they converted into six points, to knot the CIF Open Division quarterfinals up at 53 apiece with 22 seconds remaining in regulation.
“We felt that (Miles Nolan-Webb) and (Damonte Holiday) would be the players who would facilitate the shot or take it themselves,” said Torrey Pines coach John Olive. “We wanted to help out and send a half a man extra to the help positions in case either of those had the ball and keep them on the perimeter so that it would be a tougher shot.”
The Cardinals (18-11) missed two attempts at the buzzer. Overtime.
Advantage, Torrey Pines.
Securing a double bonus at the end of regulation, the Falcons (26-4) drained eight free throws and three field goals in overtime to complete the comeback, defeating Hoover 68-59 Saturday night at home.
Torrey Pines advances to the semifinals where they meet top-seeded St. Augustine, who fended off the Falcons 60-55 in the West Hills Invitational championship match in December.
“Nothing too different,” Olive said. “I told the kids that there is no eight-point play out there. You have to play one possession at a time. It’s cliché, but that’s al you can do.”
They clawed back feeding senior forward Sam Worman, who finished with a team-high 20 points, and sealed the victory in overtime employing the same strategy.
“We came out pretty soft,” Worman said. “Hoover was very physical and played tough basketball. But we knew we could run our offense against them and break them down because we had a size advantage. We tried not to dribble as much and instead pass it around and get it inside the paint to get some easier looks.”
It worked. Using his size, Worman scored eight points in extra time to propel Torrey Pines.
“Determination,” Worman said. “We were determined to get this victory and we played much better down the stretch to come back. And in the overtime, we stepped up our defense and tried to force Hoover into a perimeter team.”