Rob Bloom, North Hollywood High's boys basketball coach, was displease with the Huskies' many first-half turnovers and what he called "bonehead things."
Leading scorer Kenny Hauser and point guard Dominic Johnson fouled out, and William Kim failed to pick up the scoring slack.
Despite these handicaps, North Hollywood remained within striking distance of Manual Arts before losing, 49-47, in the boys' City Invitational basketball championship Saturday at Loyola Marymount.
"I thought we battled as well as we could," Bloom said. "I thought if our two guys didn't foul out, we'd have a real shot at this."
Fourth-seeded North Hollywood (21-8) led, 34-32, after scoring the last eight points of the third quarter.
James Gillett opened the quarter with the tying basket for the Toilers but David Danipour of North Hollywood broke the tie nine seconds later with two free throws.
Second-seeded Manual Arts (17-7) reclaimed the lead on Mario Roberts' three-point basket with 6:24 left and Hauser's basket gave North Hollywood its final lead with about five minutes left.
Johnson had four points, fouling out with 2:33 left.
"The last foul on Dominic was a questionable one, [but] I'm never going to blame a loss on a referee," Bloom said. "That hurt us because we're not very deep."
Andrew Lockett's three-point basket midway through the fourth quarter gave the Toilers the lead for good. His two free throws, following Hauser's fifth foul, increased the lead to 42-38 with 3:45 left.
The Huskies cut the deficit to two points three times, before Lockett's basket with 1:55 to play put Manual Arts ahead, 49-45.
Neither team scored again until Danipour sank a 15-footer in the final second after missing three three-point shots.
"I was real proud," said Bloom, whose team upset top-seeded Venice, 61-60, in a semifinal Feb. 25 to reach the final.
Hauser finished with nine points, making four of 14 shots. He was averaging 17.6 points per game.
"Hauser didn't play real well all game," Bloom said.
Danipour, Erick Roller, Gus Ruiz and Nathan Stern each added eight points.
Kim was held to two points. He missed all three shots and committing five turnovers in 16 minutes as the Huskies were stymied in their quest for their first title since 1990, when they won the Division 3-A crown.
Roberts scored 20 points for Manual Arts. Lockett added 12 while De Andre Morris had 11 point and 12 rebounds.