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PLAYOFF ROUNDUP

Dena Does the Winning Deed for Kilpatrick

February 28, 2001|STEVE GALLUZZO | From Staff Reports

Javier Dena made a three-point play with 1.7 seconds remaining and Kilpatrick defeated Desert, 70-69, in a Southern Section Division V-AA boys' semifinal Tuesday night at Brentwood High.

Kilpatrick inbounded the ball with 6.5 seconds left to Keilon Fortune, who drove the lane and missed a five-foot jumper. Dena grabbed the rebound over two defenders, scored and was fouled, giving him a chance to redeem himself after missing two foul shots a minute earlier.

"I just reacted to Keilon's shot," said Dena, a 6-6 senior center. "When I saw it come off the rim, I just snatched it away. I was under a lot of pressure and they called a timeout to try to psych me out on the free throw, but I relaxed and told myself to make my team proud."

Sidney Melvin's half-court shot for Desert at the buzzer bounced off the rim.

Fortune, who averaged 39 points in Kilpatrick's first three playoff games, had 31 points, six assists and eight steals. Adam Townsend added 11 points for the third-seeded Mustangs (26-1) before fouling out with 1:37 left.

"My teammates came up big again for me," said Fortune, who scored 31 points before fouling out early in the fourth quarter of Kilpatrick's overtime victory over Serra on Friday. "Everyone's been saying we're a one-man team, but if we were we wouldn't be going to the finals. I've never seen a high school team win a championship with just one guy."

Melvin made four three-point baskets en route to 26 points for the 10th-seeded Scorpions (22-5), including a three-pointer with 1:03 remaining that gave Desert a 69-64 lead.

Dominic Lacoste made a free throw, then rebounded Dena's second missed free throw and scored to cut Desert's lead to 69-67 with 22 seconds left.

Jabez Williams of Desert was fouled and missed the first of a one-and-one situation with 10.5 seconds left. Dena got the rebound and passed to Fortune, who dribbled across midcourt and called a timeout to set up Kilpatrick's final play.

Dena and sophomore guard Edwin Mora each scored nine points for the Mustangs, who advanced to the championship game Saturday night at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim.

Fortune hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to give Kilpatrick a 55-51 lead after three quarters. After an even first quarter, the Mustangs scored the last six points of the first half to lead 32-27.

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