EL CAJON — David Jeremiah, Christian High's junior guard, took the opening tap Friday night, dribbled about five feet and sank a three-pointer from near the top of the key just four seconds into the game.
The shot set the tone. The spot from which Jeremiah sank his three-pointer was established as a point of inspiration for the Christian team as it went on to beat Holtville, 70-60, in the semifinals of the Division IV playoffs at Granite Hills.
Christian (12-12) advanced to the Division IV final next Saturday at 11:15 a.m. at the Sports Arena against Mt. Empire, which beat Coronado, 70-69. Holtville, runner-up in the Desert League, finished 14-8.
Jeremiah, who led all scorers with 26 points, sank five three-pointers, all from the same location, and each time, Christian experienced a resurgence.
"Those three-pointers helped us a lot to keep our lead," said Christian guard John Halvarson, who added 14 points and one three-pointer. "At times, we would be struggling with our shooting, but Dave just kept hitting three-pointers."
Said Jeremiah: "The three-pointers are almost like a dunk (as far as) getting us momentum."
The impact of Jeremiah's three-pointers, in order:
- After his first shot, Christian opened a 7-2 lead.
- Early in the second period, Holtville took its first lead, 16-15, on a steal and a lay-in by Richard Larios. Jeremiah immediately followed with a three-pointer, and Christian eventually pulled out to a 25-19 lead after another Jeremiah three-pointer.
- Holtville narrowed Christian's lead to 30-25 later in the second quarter. Jeremiah hit again, and Christian went on to gain a 37-29 advantage.
- Holtville closed to within three, 44-41. After another Jeremiah boost, Christian soon had a 51-41 advantage.
"The three-point shot is definitely part of our attack," said Randy Wright, Christian coach. "We probably won five or six games because of three-pointers."