Dick Crowell probably needs to have a word with his scouts. His San Fernando High team based its preparation for Wednesday's City Section 3-A Division playoff game against L. A. Jordan on the word of three coaches. The scouting rundown turned out to be a missing-person report.
"They told me about Stephon Davis and they told me James Wesley never shoots the ball," Crowell said. "They never mentioned that other guy."
That other guy, George Leday, and a James Wesley who fit a different description, combined for 46 points in their team's 83-79 win at San Fernando.
"I would have gotten out to see them, but they were so far away I didn't," Crowell said.
The Tigers almost pulled out a victory in the game's final moments, scoring six unanswered points. A jump shot by San Fernando's Sean Williams with 12 seconds left cut the Tigers' deficit to 81-79. Jordan's Darren Jones was fouled and made one of two free throws, but rebounded his own miss, ending San Fernando's chances for a last-second comeback. Darnell Patterson made a final free throw for Jordan with six seconds left for the game's final points.
"Our fans and our coach just fired us up and we just had to do a little bit ourselves," said Leday, who finished with 25 points.
After trailing by as many as 13 points, San Fernando made a run at the end of the third quarter and went into the final quarter trailing, 61-57.
Leday made a basket with 1:10 left to give the Bulldogs an eight-point lead before San Fernando mounted its late charge.
"They just played a little better than we did," Crowell said. "We lost the game at the free-throw line and because of a couple of layups that we missed."
San Fernando made 13 of 21 free throws, and senior guard Joe Mauldin, who finished with 16 points but did not score in the fourth quarter, missed three uncontested layups that might have made the difference.
"If Joe doesn't miss those layups it's a different ballgame," Crowell said.
Senior guard Tory Stephens scored a game-high 27 points for San Fernando and teammates Duane Heller and Angel Sotelo each added 8 points. In addition to Leday's 25 points for Jordan, Wesley scored 21 and Davis added 18.
San Fernando tried to use its height advantage inside at the outset but turned to its strength, the three-point jump shot. The Tigers made 8 of 17 three-point attempts.
"You live by it, I guess you can die by it," Jordan Coach Roosevelt Wilson said of San Fernando's three-point attempts. "If they had gone for a couple more two-point shots instead, it might have been a different game."
Jordan led at halftime, 45-38, after San Fernando had led by as many as four points in the second quarter.
A jump shot by Davis tied the score, 30-30, and started a Bulldog rally. Jordan outscored San Fernando, 14-4, during that stretch, including 10 consecutive points, before Mauldin made a basket for San Fernando to bring the Tigers to within 44-36.