With two seconds remaining in the opening round of the North Hollywood basketball tournament, El Camino Real's Tony Schwartz threw a length-of-the-court pass. The ball landed out of bounds.
That was on Thursday, and it didn't matter. The Conquistadores had a seven-point win over Granada Hills wrapped up.
With two seconds remaining in the second round of the tournament Friday night, Schwartz again attempted a length-of-the-court pass.
This time, it mattered.
And this time, Schwartz connected.
Sean Davis caught the 90-foot pass and promptly hit a 15-foot jump shot from the left corner as the buzzer sounded to give El Camino Real a stunning 70-69 victory over Manual Arts.
"I'm just so happy," Davis said after putting the Conquistadores into the tournament final against Fremont. "I would have cried all night had we lost."
El Camino Real controlled the game from the outset and led, 56-40, with six minutes left.
But the Toilers, who made it to the City 4-A final last season, staged a furious comeback that had El Camino Real's lead down to three with 19 seconds left.
With 15 seconds left, El Camino's Shaun Stephenson missed two free throws. Five seconds later, Jemarl Baker scored on a short jumper to make it, 68-67, El Camino.
Adam Sacks, who played brilliantly for the Conquistadores, then made a crucial mistake. His inbounds pass wound up in the arms of Ed Williams of Manual Arts. Williams hit a 12-foot bank shot with two seconds left to give the Toilers a 69-68 lead.
El Camino Real called time out, and Coach Mike McNulty set up a play.
"During the timeout, Coach McNulty asked me if I wanted to throw the ball," Schwartz said. "I said, 'Yeah.' Hey, I'm a catcher on the baseball team."
When Schwartz got the ball, he ran to his right, taking the Manual Arts' defense with him. He then fired the pass cross-court to Davis in the left corner. A Toiler player jumped for the ball, but just missed.
And Davis, who tied Sacks for team-high honors in scoring with 20, had a clear shot at victory.
"I knew it was going in once I let it go," the junior forward said.
"That last play had to be picture-perfect," said Manual Arts Coach Reggie Morris, whose team fell to 7-2. "First, they have a 94-foot pass, then he gets the shot off right away."
"Sean really shot well," McNulty said. "He is a streak shooter."
In the first quarter, Davis missed all of the six shots he attempted. After that, most of his shots hit nothing but the bottom of the net.
While Davis was cold, Sacks carried the Conquistadores, scoring 13 points by the half. El Camino Real led, 32-24, after two quarters.
The Conquistadores (6-3) increased their lead, 50-38, after three quarters, as Davis hit four jumpers in the quarter.
Early in the fourth, Davis, who scored 16 in the second half, connected twice from the corner to put El Camino Real up by 16.
But then, the Toilers started pressing, forcing several El Camino Real turnovers.
"The fatigue factor got us in the fourth quarter," McNulty said.
With Rick Hergott sidelined with strep throat, Sacks was forced to play the full 32 minutes. "It was hard for him to bring the ball up the whole game with their relentless pressure," McNulty said.
Suddenly, the lead started dwindling.
Baker and Williams began hitting from the outside. Baker, who finished with 14 points, had 10 in the fourth quarter. Williams, who led the Toilers with 18, scored seven in the last frame.
And Andre Bouvay, who had 14 points, scored off several offensive rebounds to spark the Toilers.
But, in the end, the Toilers' effort went for naught.
"Any loss is disheartening," Morris said. "But this one . . ."
In other action:
Fremont needed overtime to defeat North Hollywood, 49-46, and advance to the 7:30 p.m. final against El Camino Real.
The consolation championship game will feature Granada Hills, a 75-46 winner over Hollywood, against Reseda, a 57-51 victor over Los Angeles.
MANUAL ARTS--E. Williams 18; Bouvay 14; Baker 14; Rhodes 6; Small 11; Charlot 4; W. Williams 2.
EL CAMINO REAL--Davis 20; Shaw 10; Sacks 20; Stephenson 15; Schwartz 5.
FREMONT--Ware 9; Gelson 13; Lindsay 4; Dafney 4; Jones 4; Kyles 15.
NORTH HOLLYWOOD--Nappi 2 and 5 assists; Barnes 19; Bernstein 4 and 5 assists; Woolery 5 and 5 assists; Patterson 10; Nelson 6 and 8 rebounds.
HOLLYWOOD--Priess 13; D. Harrison 13; Spight 8; Rama 4; R. Harrison 4; Holmes 2; Harris 2.
GRANADA HILLS--Bishop 15; Puathasnanon 15; Gray 12; Smith 11; Gurian 8; Lytle 6; Meyer 4; McBride 2; Furman 1; Cross 1.
RESEDA--Nickelson 19; Williams 11; Wills 9; Spears 7; Crawford 4; Ligon 3; Ricks 2; Stepmer 2.
LOS ANGELES--Bell 14; Smith 14; Blandino 11; Knight 6; Vega 4; Brooks 2.