With Hancock College leading 65-63, 0.5 left to play and Palomar's Antonio Green at the free throw line for two foul shots, Hancock guard Grant Johnson silently implored the home crowd to MAKE SOME NOISE!
Yelling and stomping their feet, the partisan Hancock fans obliged. Green missed his first free throw. He missed his second on purpose, but Hancock forward Trenton Mitchell grabbed the rebound, preserving a 65-63 win for the Bulldogs (11-2) in the 54th edition of their annual Holiday Classic at Hancock's Joe White Memorial Gymnasium Saturday night.
That last 0.5 wasn't the only time the home crowd lifted his team, Hancock coach Tyson Aye said afterward.
"I've got to give some love to our fans," Aye said. "They helped us a lot tonight. And we needed a lot of help."
Glenn Jordan sank two free throws with 1:37 left for Hancock's final, and winning, points.
Though the Comets came awfully close, they never could tie the score after the Bulldogs entered the second half with a 40-32 lead.
Four Bulldogs finished in double figures. Four Comets did the same. Grant Johnson and Mike Mensah scored 13 points apiece for Hancock. Mitchell had 11 points and Jordan scored 10.
Palomar's Jamario Harris scored a game-high 16 points. Marek Sullivan, Green and Anthony Routh finished with 14, 11 and 10 points respectively for Palomar.
Leading by the eventual winning score of 65-63, the Bulldogs turned the ball over on a shot clock violation with 19.3 seconds left.
Palomar took a timeout. Then Hancock did the same. The Comets got the ball upcourt then took another timeout.
Struggling to inbound the ball, the Comets called time again. Aye, after viewing the Palomar set up, subsequently did the same.
Finally, the Comets ran a play. Green, under tight pressure, missed inside but drew a foul from Mitchell. Aye took his final timeout to freeze Green and then Green missed the two foul shots.
Hancock missed on some open looks early in the second half, but won thanks to Jordan making four straight free throws for points 62-through-65. The Comets missed three of their last four free throws, including Green's intentional miss on the last one.
"We missed some, and Palomar played really well," said Aye. "They played REALLY well."
Hancock will play San Jose at 3 p.m. Sunday in the tournament finale. There will be no tournament champion. The Bulldogs are 2-0 in the tourney.
Santa Maria Holiday Hoop Tourney
Lompoc 65, Santa Maria 54
Thomas Segel popped in 18 points for the host team (8-8), but the Braves beat the Saints in the third-place game at host Santa Maria's Wilson Gym.
Collin Oestereich led the Braves with 20 points and was named to the All-Tournament team.
Benecio Cayabyab and Ryan Morgan each added 11 points for the Braves who went 3-1 at the tournament.
Rolando Pina had seven points and 15 rebounds for Santa Maria. Austin Peinado finished with seven points and seven rebounds for the Saints.
Bakersfield Mira Monte defeated Taft 73-53 for the tournament championship. Morro Bay downed McFarland 65-52 for fifth place, and Hanford Sierra Pacific beat Lindsay 63-48 for seventh.
White Mountain Holiday Classic
Carlsbad 72, St. Joseph 44
St. Joseph 69, Buena (Ariz.) 52
SHOW LOW, Ariz. — The Lancers stopped the Knights' four-game tournament winning streak in St. Joseph’s first game Saturday before St. Joseph bounced back for a win against Buena, Ariz.
The Knights (14-3) put an exclamation point on their trip to the Arizona mountains with the victory in the third place game at the White Mountain Classic.
The 6,345 foot altitude didn’t slow down the Knights who, at one point, led Buena by 30 points.
Anyel Ortiz led St. Joseph with 15 points.
Kainoa Keuma and Steven Vasquez each added 13 and Elijah Brinez had eight points and eight rebounds.
Seaside Sweet 16 Tournament
Righetti 52, Auburn Placer 50
SEASIDE — The Warriors (7-4) edged the Hillmen for third place. No details were available.
Nipomo 52, Redwood 35
TULARE — The Nipomo Titans defeated Redwood in the third place game at the annual Tulare Tournament.
Kacie Slover led the Titans with 15 points. Clarissa Simonson added 12 points and was named to the All-Tournament team.
The Titans (10-7) went 3-1 in Tulare.
Nipomo gets back on court next Friday, Jan. 5, when they play Orcutt Academy at Lakewood Junior High.
Pioneer Valley Christmas Break Tournament
Righetti's girls played to two draws in this tournament Saturday, 0-0 against Orangevale Casa Roble and 2-2 against Fresno Washington Union.
Pioneer Valley's girls split two games, losing 3-1 to Casa Roble and defeating Bakersfield Christian 6-0.
Santa Maria beat Atascadero 5-0 in a boys tournament game. The Saints were 12-0-2 at press time going into its tournament game against San Jose Branham.