With eight minutes to play Saturday, Las Vegas High’s boys basketball team was cruising to an easy win to capture its pool in the Las Vegas Prep Championship.
Then things nearly slipped away.
Cypress (Calif.) outscored the Wildcats 22-1 in the fourth quarter, but Las Vegas escaped with a 51-49 win.
The Wildcats were one of three local teams to win pools and advance to the Platinum Bracket in the tournament, which resumes Monday at Las Vegas High.
“We didn’t finish well,” Las Vegas coach Jason Wilson said in an understatement. “We’ve had that problem. Sometimes when we get up on teams, we don’t finish well. We’ll have to do a better job of, I guess, getting the kids ready to finish. At some point, maybe it’s me. But we’ve just got to be better finishing games.”
Las Vegas led 50-27 after a Marquise Raybon follow with 43 seconds to go in the third quarter. It was the last field goal the Wildcats would make.
Las Vegas was 0-for-8 from the field in the fourth quarter, and just 1-for-4 from the free-throw line. The Wildcats also turned the ball over five times.
The Wildcats were 21-for-41 from the field through three quarters.
“We got the ball inside, we attacked and we scored some in transition,” Wilson said of his team’s early offensive success. “I thought we were knocking down shots early, and then we just couldn’t get anything to go in the fourth quarter. And we couldn’t get stops. If you can’t score and you can’t get stops, you’re going to let teams back in it.”
The Centurions waged their comeback almost entirely with reserves on the floor. Starters accounted for just three of the team’s 22 fourth-quarter points.
Cypress pulled within four at 51-47 on a bucket by Trevor Jones with 5.7 seconds to go, but he was unable to complete the three-point play.
Marcus Hastings rebounded and was fouled. He missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Cypress got the ball inside to Jones who scored with about a second left for the final margin.
Las Vegas relied more heavily on the outside shot in the second half, hoisting 13 3-pointers.
“In the fourth quarter, way too much,” Wilson said. “I told the kids not to shoot anything from behind the arc anymore. Nobody was making them there in the fourth quarter. Even when we got decent looks, they weren’t falling. You can’t make shots go in, but you can always control your defense, and I didn’t think we did a very good job down the stretch.”
Tyler Bey had 17 points, eight rebounds and two steals to lead Las Vegas, which plays Hanford (Calif.) in the Platinum quarterfinals at 1:30 p.m. on Monday. Devon Colley added 15 points and four assists, and Patrick Savoy had nine points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots for the Wildcats.
Brad Belshe had 17 points and seven rebounds for Cypress.
Las Vegas 70, Troy (Calif.) 59 — Savoy scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half to lead the Wildcats over the Warriors.
Bey added 18 points, including eight in the third quarter, for Las Vegas. Colley scored 10 for the Wildcats.
Wenzel Akinboro led Troy with 14 points. The game was tied at 30 at the half.
Valley 69, Woodbridge (Calif.) 48 — Darrion Daniels led four Valley players in double figures with 17 points as the Vikings won their pool with a win over the Warriors.
Trevion Jackson, Cameron Burton and Shea Garland each added 15 points for Valley.
Sami Soufian led Woodbridge with 15 points.
Valley 64, West Torrance (Calif.) 24 — Daniels had 22 points as the Vikings rolled past the Warriors.
Nick Brannon added 11 points for Valley, which led 36-15 at the half.
Basic 56, Melbourne (Australia) 51 — Jared Meacham scored 20 points as the Wolves beat the Tigers to finish 2-0 in pool play.
Josh Villaros added 15 points for Basic, which led 16-9 after one quarter.
Nick Dane and Blake Alison each had 10 points to lead Melbourne.
Chaparral 66, Hazard (Ky.) 44 — Marc Silas scored 21 points to lead the Cowboys over the Bulldogs.
Samuel Porras added eight points for Chaparral, which outscored Hazard 46-21 in the middle quarters.
Jason Johnson led Hazard with 17 points.
Hanford (Calif.) 63, Rancho 52 — Trent Reynolds had 14 points as the Bullpups beat the Rams.
Cole Taber added 12 points for Hanford.
Ryan Hafen and Kenneth Smith each had 12 points for Rancho. David McKeever and Siriman Keita each scored 10 for the Rams.
Santa Fe (Calif.) 72, Western 31 — Robert Keller had 15 points as the Chiefs rolled past the Warriors.
Kwan Carter scored 14 to pace Western, which trailed 52-16 at the half.
Melbourne (Australia) 59, Cimarron-Memorial 46 — Abraham Kaplandjian had 11 points to lead the Tigers over the Spartans.
Terrell Walker had 17 points to lead Cimarron, which was outscored 23-14 in the fourth quarter.
Jadon Brown added 11 points for the Spartans.
Garfield (Wash.) 87, Western 22 — The Bulldogs scored the game’s first 20 points and rolled to the win over the Warriors.
Garfield led 11-0 before Western even attempted a shot, as the Warriors turned the ball over 21 times in the first half, leading to 43 Garfield points.
Jaylen Nowell scored 22 of his 30 points in the first half for the Bulldogs, who got 18 points and 11 rebounds from Alphonso Anderson.
Nick Varacalli led Western with six points.
Cathedral (Calif.) 79, Liberty 40 — Milan Acquaah had 16 points, and the Phantoms opened the game on a 12-0 run and never looked back in a win over the Patriots.
Kobe Paras added 15 points and five steals, and Lucas Siewert had 11 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots for Cathedral.
Ed O’Bannon led Liberty with 14 points and seven rebounds.