Point guards are plentiful in the Mission League, but two of the best were missing in action Monday night at West Hills Chaminade, and the absence of the Eagles' Jaron Martin (strep throat) and Loyola's Parker Jackson-Cartwright (ankle injury) created opportunity for the understudies.
In the end, Max Hazzard of Loyola came through at a decisive time, getting the ball to 7-footer Thomas Welsh deep into the key for an easy basket with 1 minute 19 seconds left to give the Cubs (12-2, 2-0) a 62-61 road victory over Chaminade.
"It was two teams fighting their tails off," Loyola Coach Jamal Adams said. "I told our guys we made one more play than they did. We're fighting and clawing with Parker out."
Jackson-Cartwright was on the Loyola bench with his left foot in a walking cast. He has been declared out of action until his ankle fully heals after it has bothered him for months. He's not expected back for several weeks.
Chaminade (12-3, 0-1) didn't seem to adjust well to Martin's absence, falling behind 10-0 at the outset. But the Eagles recovered behind junior Jack Williams, who scored 31 points and gave his team its first lead, 61-60, with two free throws with 3:08 left.
Loyola got into foul trouble but was able to survive because of better depth. There were a lot of contributors even though the only player to reach double figures was Mtume Armour, who finished with 11 points, nine in the first quarter.
Thomas Lapham made three three-pointers off the bench. Khalil Bedart-Ghani, a junior who has grown six inches to 6 feet 2 since he was a freshman, had a pair of three-point plays. Welsh scored all eight of his points in the second half. Trey Mason, facing a box-and-one defense, had eight points.
"We have to play better," said a disappointed Chaminade Coach Todd Wolfson. "In the end, when you're missing your playmaker, you have to find someone to make plays. I'm proud of my guys for fighting back, but in order to win games in the Mission League, we have to play better."