Damien sophomore Jeremy Hemsley rescued Damien with a dramatic 3-point buzzer-beater in overtime to in Wednesday’s incredible 74-72 victory for the Spartans.
Earlier, Mission Oak’s Blake Shannon sent the game to overtime with a half-court buzzer-beater to erase a 14-point deficit with under six minutes left to send it to overtime.
In other state playoffs games: La Verne Lutheran crushed visiting Sierra 85-42 in the Division IV boys basketball opener. In the girls state playoffs, Bishop Amat hammered El Camino Real 48-29 in Division I and Bonita lost La Costa Canyon 66-43 in Division II.
By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
LA VERNE — After Damien witnessed a mammoth fourth-quarter collapse that ended with visiting Mission Oak High School’s Blake Shannon banking in a half-court shot at the buzzer to send the CIF-State Boys Basketball Division III first-round regional playoff game to overtime, Damien sophomore Jeremy Hemsley rescued the Spartans with a buzzer-beater of his own.
Hemsley’s three-point shot as time expired in overtime lifted the Spartans from the jaws of defeat, giving the the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AA champs a 74-72 victory to advance to Saturday’s second-round at second-seed West Hills Chaminade.
After Shannon, who finished with a team-high 25 points, hit two free throws to give the Hawks a 72-71 lead with 3.2 seconds left, the Spartans quickly advanced the ball to halfcourt and called a timeout with 2.4 seconds left.
“The coach set up a play and I told (teammate) Jared (Dizon) I wasn’t going to let us lose it,” Hemsley said. “I was going to take the last shot.”
That’s exactly how Damien coach Matt Dunn remembers the conversation too.
“When he walked off the court as calmly as could be he said, ‘I got it coach,’ Dunn said. “It doesn’t take a genius as a coach to know where the ball is going.”
Hemsley, who finished with a game high 31 points to go with seven assists and six rebounds, took the inbounds, made three dribbles and pulled up for the game-winner.
“He knew exactly how much time he had and make a great shot,” Dunn said. “Sometimes you have to give it to the special player.” To continue click thread
Damien coach Matt Dunn and Jeremy Hemsley talk afterward
Saturday’s State Playoff Schedule
Division III Boys
Damien at West Hills Chaminade, 7 p.m.
Division IV Boys
Pacific Hills at La Verne Lutheran, 7 p.m.
Division I Girls
Bishop Amat at Narbonne, 7 p.m.
Damien (22-5) also received a fine effort from Jared Dizon and Keith Cavanaugh, who finished with 14 points apiece.
But Damien almost blew it.
The Spartans led 50-36 with just under six minutes left, but the Hawks went on an 11-0 run to trim the Spartans’ lead to 50-47 with 2:36 left.
Hemsley sank a pair of free throws to extend the Spartans’ lead to 60-53 with 51 seconds left, but Mission Oak’s Elijah Porchia hit a 12-footer and following a Spartans turnover, Shannon hit a long 3-pointer to trim it to 60-58 with 3.7 seconds left.
After Cavanaugh hit one of two free throws to extend the Spartans’ lead to 61-58 with 2.8 left, Shannon took the inbounds just past midcourt and nailed it to send the game to overtime.
“It was a great high school basketball game,” Dunn said. “We didn’t finish the fourth quarter very well or the overtime very well, but sometimes you have a great player that bails you out, and that’s exactly what Jeremy did.”