Cathedral 77, Faith Baptist 75--Faith Baptist wiped out a 10-point halftime deficit to pull ahead, 75-74, with 40 seconds left on a fast-break layup by David Hairston.
But you might as well check the statistics to discover why Cathedral edged the Contenders in the Southern Section 1-A wild-card game at Cathedral.
Statistic No. 1: Free Throws. Faith Baptist missed the front end of three one-and-one situations in the final 40 seconds and made only 13 of 26 in the game.
Hairston, who made 8 of 11 field-goal attempts en route to 19 points, missed free throws with 13 and 7 seconds to play.
Even though Hairston scored six consecutive Faith Baptist points to pull the Contenders from 64-57 to 66-63 midway through the final quarter, he could find no solace afterward and left the gym quickly.
Strangely, the Contenders (17-6) shot 60% from the field, connecting on 26 of 44 shots.
Statistic No. 2: Turnovers. Faith Baptist, harried by Cathedral's 1-2-1-1 full-court press, committed 19 turnovers.
"We are usually ice during the stretch," said guard Shaik Nabi, who finished with 18 points. "The only thing it could be is pressure."
"The gym," said Jason Henderson, who scored 13 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. "They scream loud."
The raucous crowd inspired Cathedral (19-5), but the Phantoms played calmly under pressure for a team that won its first playoff game in nine years.
"Our players couldn't think because their fans were screaming so loud," Faith Baptist Coach Dean Lobdell said. "It was a big game, and we were tight."
Under 23-year-old first-year Coach Mike Miller, believed to be the youngest head coach in California, the co-champions of the Santa Fe League made 7 of 10 field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter. Javier Montenegro scored 34 points for the Phantoms and made five three-point baskets.
Eislander Williams added 18 points. Richard Leon led Faith Baptist with 18 points.