Bryan Smith kept Arroyo Grande’s season alive – with three seconds to spare.
Smith took the inbounds pass then shot the ball over Cabrillo’s Eddy Little. The shot got a bounce off the glass and went into the hoop – sending the Eagles to the second round of the CIF Division 3A playoffs with their 47-46 Wednesday night upset of the Conquistadores in Vandenberg Village.
Head coach Ryan Glanville leaped to the air and pumped his first through the air after the game-winner was made.
“That was pretty wild,” Glanville said after the game. “I think we were pretty fortunate to have that opportunity to win it in the end.”
The Eagles found themselves down 46-45 with nine seconds to go in the fourth.
Cabrillo’s LeAndrew Knight, playing in his final postseason appearance, nailed a circus-like layup where he rotated the ball and lobbed up in the air from his right hand to give give CHS the late lead.
Cabrillo also forced an Arroyo Grande turnover and had the opportunity to inbound the ball and hang on in the closing seconds. But the ball was overthrown and rolled to the CHS sidelines – giving the Eagles another scoring chance.
“We turned it over once in the end, and then they turned it over once in the end. It came down to who had the last opportunity to score. Thankfully for us, one of our out-of-bounds plays got us an open look,” Glanville said.
Cabrillo head coach C.J. Simmons sent this message to his team before that costly turnover: Take care of the ball.
“It’s never going to be pleasant when you’re on the other side and you take the loss. It’s going to hurt,” Simmons said. “But hands down, AG played a great game. That’s what CIF is all about.”
Cabrillo (17-6 overall) started fast as Knight went into attack mode. The senior scored 16 first-half points including a one-handed slam dunk on a fastbreak.
The Conquistadores found themselves up 24-10 before the Eagles started to make their run. Glanville opted to not call timeout with his team down by 14. Arroyo Grande (18-10) managed to cut the lead to 24-15 at halftime.
“When we went into halftime, we were down by nine and I felt better about that. I told the guys, ‘Look, it’s only three or four buckets but we’ve got to clean some things up out there. And we did,” Glanville said. “Our guards did an excellent job of spreading the floor.”
That space got the Eagles’ long-range game to get going plus allowed them to attack the basket with ease. Gage Gomez, Caleb Whalen and Robert Hutchens sparked the late AGHS rally.
Before the game, both teams were known to be models of consistency on the 805 basketball court. Since the 2004-05 season AGHS has averaged 18 wins per year and has produced seven seasons with 20 wins or more under Glanville. Cabrillo has enjoyed 11 winning seasons since that same period and has won seven consecutive Los Padres League titles, including the last two under Simmons.
Gomez led the Eagles with 15 points. Both Whalen and Smith added 11. Knight finished with a game-high of 23 points. Austin Olsen finished with 10. No other Conquistadore reached double figures in scoring.
Despite getting paired with a historically stout program in the first round, Simmons chose not to gripe about the pairing and felt the contest was a great matchup.
“The matchup was fair. That’s what the playoffs are really all about – to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best,” Simmons said. “Credit to them (AG). They did well and I hope they succeed in the rest of the playoffs.”
Lompoc 68, Holy Martyrs Armenian 51
Paul Terrones has his first coaching victory in the playoffs as the Lompoc Braves head coach, as LHS claimed the 17-point road win down in Encino.
Ryan Morgan finished with 20 points. Ruben Cortez added 16 for LHS. Andrew Villa and Jordan Tyler each added 13 apiece.
Lompoc will now take on San Bernardino Aquinas on Friday, which was a 60-48 winner against Whittier California.