Legacy boys basketball coach Jack Tarango walked out of the gymnasium bleary eyed but with a smile on his face.
Other than the final outcome of the Longhorns’ game Friday night, Tarango had a lot to be happy about.
The host Longhorns got 23 points from Timothy Jeffries and battled Clovis East (Calif.) to the wire before falling 63-58 in the quarterfinals of the Legacy Tip-Off Classic.
“To come in and compete hard and to do what it takes to pretty much win the game, I’m happy about the positive direction of where we’re going,” Tarango said. “It seems like we competed harder than what we have in past games. I’m happy with the progession of what’s going on. I’d like to get all wins of course, but we’re headed in that positive direction.”
Trey Semien had 14 of his 25 points in the second half, including a clutch 3-pointer with 4:47 remaining for Clovis East, which meets Centennial in the semifinals at 3:05 p.m. Saturday at Legacy.
Semien’s 3-pointer put the Timberwolves ahead 54-46, and Legacy (2-2) never got closer than three points the rest of the way.
Kameron Delgadillo’s basket with 25 seconds left cut Clovis East’s lead to 59-56, and D’Eric Marlowe banked in a turnaround jumper with 11.8 seconds remaining to bring the Longhorns within 61-58.
Will Pancotti knocked down two free throws with 3.3 seconds remaining to close out the game.
Marlowe had 12 points for Legacy, and Delgadillo finished with 11 points.
“Unfortunately, tonight we never got (a late run),” Tarango said. “(Semien) hit some huge shots for them, contested shots. I thought defensively we played a real good game against them. They gave Palo (Verde) fits and they beat Coral Academy, another good team.”
Legacy trailed for most of the first half and was down 29-19 in the second quarter before closing the half on an 11-2 run. Marlowe drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key, and Delgadillo, who had nine points in the quarter, beat the buzzer with a layup to bring Legacy within 31-30 at halftime.
The Longhorns twice led in the third quarter, the final time at 39-38 after Jeffries made three free throws with 2:53 remaining. But Semien swished a 3-pointer from the corner to trigger a 6-0 spurt that gave Clovis East a 44-39 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“We had a tough game on Tuesday against Cheyenne, and to come back in the next couple games and come up with victories, and to play probably one of our more solid games tonight, even in a loss, I feel good about where we’re heading,” Tarango said. “Obviously there’s some things we’ve got to clean up, but I like that we’re moving in a positive direction. We just have to come back (Saturday) and seal the deal and get three wins in the tournament.”
Centennial 73, Rancho 45 — At Legacy, Troy Brown finished with 26 points, six rebounds and six assists, and Isaiah Banks added 22 points as the Bulldogs coasted past the Rams in a winners’ bracket game.
Centennial led 32-21 in the second quarter before closing the half on a 15-2 blitz, the highlight of which was a no-look pass from Brown to Banks on the baseline for an easy layup.
Brown added a steal and ferocious one-handed breakaway dunk with 3:40 left in the third quarter to put the Bulldogs on top 60-29.
Ishon Hardin pulled down eight rebounds to lead Centennial.
Chrys Jackson had 18 points, and Lamont Traylor added 10 points for Rancho.
Legacy 76, Del Sol 59 — At Legacy, Jeffries scored 24 points, and the Longhorns held the Dragons without a field goal for nearly six minutes in the third quarter of their winners’ bracket game.
Marlowe had 14 of his 18 points in the first half for Legacy, which made eight 3-pointers.
Marlowe scored nine points during a 13-1 run in the second quarter as Legacy went up 41-19. The Dragons got as close as 44-34 with 5:48 left in the third quarter, but two 3-pointers by Jeffries and a three-point play by Darious Dunson helped push Legacy’s lead to 58-37.
Legacy led by as many as 25 points in the fourth quarter.
Jonathan Spearman led the Dragons with 19 points, and teammate Jamal McGruder added 12 points.
Clovis East (Calif.) 67, Coral Academy 46 — At Legacy, Isaiah Spears had a team-high 21 points in the Falcons loss to the Timberwolves in the winners’ bracket.
Ryan Dijno added 10 points for Coral Academy, which was outscored 29-12 in the second half.
Brandon Recek poured in a game-high 23 points and made seven of Clovis East’s 13 3-pointers.
Semien had 14 points, and Ibrahim Gharibeh and Spencer Matthes scored 10 each for the Timberwolves.
Wasatch Academy (Utah) 78, Shadow Ridge 46 — At Legacy, Jerell Springer had 13 points, and James Fuller scored 12 for the Mustangs in their winners’ bracket loss to the Tigers.
Shamiel Stevenson finished with a game-high 23 points for Wasatch as Southern California assistant coach Tony Bland was in attendance to see the 6-foot-5-inch junior guard.
Jackson Rowe had 15 points, and Koby McEwen, a Utah State signee, added 14 points for Wasatch, which led 29-10 after the first quarter and outscored the Mustangs 29-11 in the third quarter.
Green Valley 64, Sunrise Mountain 45 — At Legacy, Xavier Jarvis had 13 of his 24 points in the first quarter, and the Gators routed the Miners in the consolation bracket.
Deontae Tillman added 14 points for Green Valley, which led 33-20 at halftime.
Tyri White led Sunrise Mountain with 14 points, and teammate Steven Adeyemi scored 12.
Palo Verde 69, Spring Valley 58 — At Legacy, Taylor Miller finished with 35 points, and Christian Bryant added 15 points as the Panthers held off the Grizzlies in a consolation bracket game.
Miller, a Southern Utah recruit, drained five 3-pointers and had 22 points in the second half, including 16 in the third quarter to give Palo Verde a 52-40 lead.
Eric Hansen led Spring Valley with 18 points.
Mojave 59, Silverado 45 — At Mojave, Daryl Adams had 17 points and six assists to lead the Rattlers past the Skyhawks.
Lamaja Cunningham added 16 points and four assists for Mojave, which took control of the game by outscoring Silverado 21-12 in the fourth quarter.
Tyreon Ward added seven points and nine rebounds for the Rattlers.
Errol Newman scored eight point to lead the Skyhawks.
Chaparral 84, JV Legacy 46 — At Legacy, Richard Nelson had 17 points, and the Cowboys had six players in double figures in points as they coasted past the Longhorns’ junior varsity team in a consolation bracket game.
Marcus Hilliard had 13 points, and Marc Silas added 12 for Chaparral. Robin Rosales, Ben Kirschbaum and Elijah Maddickes added 11 points each for the Cowboys.