Bedlam. Jubilation. Pandemonium.
That was the scene at Palisades High on Wednesday night after the final buzzer sounded and Crenshaw players were running around the basketball court celebrating a dramatic 68-66 City Section Division I quarterfinal victory.
With 11 seconds left, Palisades' Tyler Duke gave the Dolphins a 66-65 lead by making two free throws. Then Crenshaw's Micah Winn caught a long pass from Brandon Baker, took one dribble and drained a three-point shot from the right side with five seconds left, sending the Cougars (24-4) to a semifinal game Saturday at Cal State Dominguez Hills against top-seeded Woodland Hills Taft.
"I was wide open," Winn said. "I had space and knocked it down."
It was a wild ending to a game that was filled with fouls.
Crenshaw's Baker took advantage, making 16 of 17 free throws and finishing with 21 points. Duke scored 26 points for Palisades (17-11), which could never free up All-City guard Donovan Johnson, who was limited to nine points and two baskets after scoring 42 points last week.
What a night it was for the Coliseum League. Dorsey upset No. 2-seeded Fairfax, 47-46, on a basket by Laroy Alexander with two seconds left. The Dons will play Westchester, a 65-62 winner over Washington, in the other semifinal.
For Crenshaw to reach the semifinals after losing its top two players — Isaac and Daniel Hamilton, who transferred to Bellflower St. John Bosco — says a lot about what Coach Ed Waters has been able to accomplish this season.
"No one thought we'd be here," Waters said. "We have a team of people. Every night we play, somebody else does something spectacular. It was Micah Winn, who came off the bench. He'd been sitting there for a while. Coaches' instinct was right for once. He came in and knocked the shot down."
Crenshaw will face a tough task against a Taft team that defeated Birmingham, 78-56, in its quarterfinal.
But the Cougars have won 13 consecutive games and earned a spot in the state playoffs.