TUSTIN, CA- Semifinal action at the Tustin Classic tipped off in the championship bracket on Thursday with Los Osos prevailing against Marina, 64-52. Los Osos ended the game on a 12-0 run, and improved to 13-1 on the season.
Senior guard Ian Murphy dominated in victory with 27 points, and Iysaiah Rojas added 25.
“This was a really big game for us, and we came out and achieved our goal of making it to the finals,” Rojas said. “We need to keep playing hard on the defensive end and work together as a team, in order to win this championship tomorrow night.”
Six-foot-four junior forward Jakob Alamudun starred for Marina, scoring 17 points. Peter Serour was also a major contributor for the Vikings, putting up 21 points. Snatching a one point advantage in the fourth quarter, thanks to an Alamudun floater, Marina needed to take care of the ball and play solid defense down the stretch to close Los Osos out.
The Grizzlies had other plans, however, as they stole the ball moments later, leading to a Murphy and-one at the rim. Trailing 52-50 with five minutes remaining, Alamudun knocked in another huge shot to tie the game. Senior Nico Parker swung momentum right back toward Los Osos, nailing a three pointer. Marina missed a three point attempt of their own at the other end, setting up a transition opportunity for the Grizzlies.
Julian Holguin capitalized sinking in a three to give Los Osos a 58-52 lead with just over two minutes left. The teams traded missed shots, until junior six-foot-nine forward Dean Keeler put his body on the line and took a huge charge to give Marina one final chance. Keeler broke open and had a good look at the basket, but failed to convert, forcing the Grizzlies to intentionally foul the rest of the way.
Los Osos finished the game perfect from the foul line, going six-for-six in the final seconds to cement a trip to the championship game, Friday night. The Grizzlies came out of the gates strong, hitting their first three shots to secure an early four point lead. Marina was rattled by the Los Osos full court press defense, and struggled to adjust for much of the first half.
Murphy scorched his third three of the half to beat the buzzer, sending Los Osos to the break with a 33-25 advantage. Marina began to adjust more and more as the second half wore on, and gained a one point advantage with 3:55 remaining in the third quarter. After failing to complete the comeback, Marina falls to 9-5. Los Osos advances to face Northwood in the championship game, Friday night.