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VEGAS INVITE: Missed free throws cost The Meadows late versus Layton Christian

Gary Hannig said he needed to watch the film to figure out why The Meadows’ boys basketball team couldn’t hold a five-point fourth-quarter lead on Friday.

But the Mustangs coach wasn’t being entirely truthful. Hannig knew exactly what happened.

“We gave them too many second-chance opportunities and missed too many free throws,” Hannig said.

The Meadows missed six of 14 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter and dropped a gut-wrenching 74-73 decision to Layton Christian (Utah) in Pool C of the Vegas Invitational at Mountain View.

The loss puts the Mustangs (9-3) in the consolation bracket where they meet Tech at 11 a.m. Saturday. The winner advances to the consolation championship at 5 p.m.

“I’m proud of the way we competed and the effort,” Hannig said. “It was two good basketball teams playing back and forth, and we just came up a little short.”

Eric Hirsberg paced The Meadows with 20 points, while Ethan Fridman and Brandon Rufty added 13 points apiece.

Brian Fridman posted 12 points for the Mustangs, but went 1-for-2 at the free-throw line with a chance to tie the game at 74 with two seconds remaining.

The Meadows finished 19-for-36 (52.8 percent) from the foul line.

“That killed us at the end of the day,” Hannig said.

The Mustangs used a 6-0 spurt, aided by a technical foul on Layton Christian, to take a 67-62 lead with 4:38 remaining in the fourth quarter. Hirsberg’s 3-pointer put The Meadows on top 70-68, and two free throws by Brian Fridman gave the Mustangs a 72-70 advantage with 1:10 left to play.

But a three-point play by Quinn Witehira put the Eagles back on top 73-72 with 59.5 seconds left, and Layton Christian held on from there.

The Meadows, which closed the third quarter on a 10-2 run to go up 60-59, was held to only two field goals in the fourth quarter and none after Hirsberg’s 3-pointer with 2:49 remaining, which gave the Mustangs their final lead.

Christian Musoko, a 6-foot-8-inch center from the Democratic Republic of Congo, led Layton Christian with 22 points, including two key putbacks in the final 3:25 of regulation. Musoko added 20 rebounds and eight blocked shots despite battling foul trouble.

Witehira had 21 points and Leroy Sisnett added 14 points for the Eagles.

Mountain View 45, Spring Mountain 31 — At Mountain View, Trenton Van Kempen finished with 10 points, and the Saints defeated the Golden Eagles in the ninth-place bracket.

Mountain View will meet Capistrano Valley Christian (Calif.) in the ninth-place game at 2 p.m. Saturday. Spring Mountain takes on Lake Mead at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Van Kempen had two 3-pointers in the first quarter, and Mountain View made five 3s in the first half on the way to a 22-11 lead at the break.

Nick Jenkins and Tevin Gray added seven points apiece for the Saints.

Harlow Hawkins led Spring Mountain with 11 points.

Capistrano Valley Christian (Calif.) 61, Lake Mead 32 — At Mountain View, Drew Ramos had 11 points, but Lake Mead was overwhelmed in the ninth-place bracket.

Brendon LeBaron added seven points for Lake Mead, which trailed 36-12 at the half.

Cameron Conley made four of Capistrano Valley Christian’s 10 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 16 points. Teammates Peter Abramsky and 6-foot-9-inch center Simon Okolue each finished with nine points.

Buckley (Calif.) 59, Moapa Valley 38 — At Mountain View, Justin Hughes had 12 points in the Pirates’ loss to the Griffins in Pool B.

David Yona finished with 15 points, and Astin Beal added 13 points for Buckley, which finished atop the pool and advanced to the championship bracket.

Hughes had nine of Moapa Valley’s 11 second-quarter points. Andrew Huerta posted nine points for the Pirates, who trailed 32-21 at the half and were outscored 13-5 in the third quarter.

Moapa Valley takes on Chadwick (Calif.) in the consolation bracket at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

La Jolla Country Day (Calif.) 58, Tech 44 — At Mountain View, Elias Peinado finished with 12 points, but the Roadrunners were held to just three field goals in the fourth quarter in a Pool D loss to the Torreys.

Bruce Edwards had 14 points, Miles Weber added 12 points and Josiah Esselstrom scored 11 for La Jolla Country Day, which outscored Tech 21-8 in the fourth quarter and advanced to the championship bracket.

Weber scored half of his points in the fourth, and the Torreys made 11 of 16 free throws in the final eight minutes.

DeShawn Williams and Elijah Robertson chipped in with eight points apiece for Tech, which trailed 37-36 after three quarters.

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