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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Moorpark Throws One Away, 66-62

Men's basketball: After making critical turnover in regulation, Raiders lose state semifinal in overtime to San Jose.

March 10, 2001|FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

STOCKTON — An alarm went off at University of the Pacific's Spanos Center with 14 seconds to play in a semifinal of the men's basketball state championships Friday night.

It might as well have come from the Moorpark College bench, which watched helplessly as San Jose City hung on for a 66-62 overtime victory over the Raiders, who committed several costly turnovers in crunch time.

"They make you make mistakes," Moorpark Coach Remy McCarthy said of the Jaguars. "They deserve credit for confusing us."

The first major blunder came with the score tied, 56-56, and Moorpark (26-6) setting up for their final shot in regulation.

Point guard T.K. Reed threw the ball out of bounds trying to feed guard Devin Montgomery on the left wing. San Jose's Eric Swan nearly made a three-point shot at the buzzer.

"We had a set play and I didn't know how much time was left," Reed said. "I thought there was more of an urgency."

Forward Brian Smith opened overtime with two free throws for the Raiders, but San Jose (32-5) responded with seven consecutive points for a 63-58 lead with 2:20 to play. Two of the baskets came on putbacks by Michael Tabb.

After another Moorpark turnover, Montgomery scored on a layup and the Raiders pulled within 63-60 with 1:12 remaining. San Jose missed a shot and Moorpark committed another turnover. Jamaal Hill was fouled on a breakaway and made one of two free throws for a 64-60 lead.

Moorpark scored on a dribble-drive by Montgomery with four seconds left, and San Jose City responded with two free throws by Jamaar Walker two seconds later.

It was the second consecutive semifinal loss for Moorpark, which has never won a state title. San Jose meets Southwest in the final tonight at 8. The Jaguars last won a state championship in 1960. Southwest beat Saddleback, 70-66.

Moorpark got off quickly, with Montgomery scoring the first 11 points, including three three-point baskets, to San Jose's one basket four minutes into the game.

The Raiders led until San Jose moved ahead, 23-22, on a three-point basket by Swan with 4:36 left in the first half.

A three-point basket by Montgomery and two free throws and a putback by Simmagin Smith put Moorpark on top at the half, 31-25.

"I was real nervous," San Jose Coach Percy Carr said. "We weren't getting in the proper angles to score off their [zone] defense, to find the gaps."

San Jose started chipping away at Moorpark's lead and pulled ahead, 41-36, with 11:12 left.

Moorpark retaliated with a 13-4 run sparked by Travis Lorz's three-point basket from the right corner and Lester Strong's six points, including a dunk on an alley-oop pass from Lorz.

Strong, who finished with 16 points and a game-high 18 rebounds, scored on a putback with 1:28 left to tie the score, 56-56, in regulation.

McCarthy praised the Raiders, and Reed in particular.

"I'll tell you this right now, we wouldn't have gotten here without [Reed]," McCarthy said. "[The Raiders] walked out of there with some grace and dignity and that's hard to do."

Montgomery had 22 points and Lorz scored 10.

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