PASADENA — A wild rally from the Maranatha High boys' basketball team was stopped at the 1:31 mark of the fourth quarter of Friday evening's CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA second-round game against visiting seventh-seeded Crespi.
That’s when Pepperdine-bound senior guard Jeremy Major was called for a charge and fouled out with his team up by a fragile point.
“I think it’s difficult not to feel slighted a little bit. Without running the risk of saying something I shouldn’t, I’m not going to say something I shouldn’t,” Maranatha Coach Tim Godley said. “You know what, we’re down 10 points in the fourth quarter with about four minutes to go and we really made a surge to close.”
With the defeat, Olympic League runner-up Maranatha, the division’s 10th seed, concluded its season with a 21-9 record.
Win No. 22 slipped out of reach after Major, who led all scorers with 27 points and seven rebounds, picked up his fifth foul as his team led, 61-60.
With one star down, another rose to the occasion in Crespi senior London Perrantes. The Virginia-bound guard put his team up for good, 62-61, after a slashing layup with 1:03 remaining in the contest.
Maranatha had two opportunities on its next possession to go ahead, but missed on a two- and three-point tries.
Down the other way, Perrantes drained precious time before again slicing through the lane and finishing from four feet to put the visitors up, 63-60, with 13 seconds left.
Maranatha had one more decent look when a three-point try from senior Brandon Pomroy rimmed out. After the miss, Crespi freshman Max Heidegger was fouled with three seconds left and made both free throws to ice the game.
“That was a huge momentum-booster for us, [Major] going out,” said Perrantes, who finished with 18 points. “Definitely the whole team wants to win and when he came out; it was a whole lot different. I felt like I led my team here and I’ve got to keep us going.”
Crespi (22-8) led by as many as 13 points midway through the second quarter and was up, 54-44, with 5:34 left in the game after a jumper from Heidegger.
However, Maranatha fought back with an unexpected 14-2 run that included a three-pointer from senior forward Jalen Jones (14 points and eight rebounds) with 3:25 left that knotted the score at 56 and a subsequent jumper from Major with 2:41 remaining that gave Maranatha its first lead, 58-56, since the end of the first quarter.
“We picked it up in the second half and it was a great comeback for us,” Jones said. “I think people thought it was over and we battled back.”
In a terrific showdown between Perrantes and Major, Perrantes converted an and-one layup and free throw with 2:31 left that was matched by a three-pointer from Major with 2:07 that gave Maranatha a 61-59 advantage.
The bucket was Major’s final, however.
“I think some people expected us to lose big and we played with the best of them. We could have won this game, but at least we had them on their toes,” Major said. “We came to fight. I hate to have it end like this, but this was a good run and I’m proud of what we accomplished.”