Cal. squad misses 4 free throws in last 11 seconds, loses state title to wild buzzer beater

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

This is why you have to hit your free throws late in games.

As reported by the Contra Costa Times, Associated Press and a handful of other outlets, San Diego (Ca.) Horizon Christian escaped with the California Interscholastic Federation Division V state title after drilling a game-winning three pointer at the buzzer to edge favored Alameda (Ca.) St. Joseph Notre Dame School, 47-46.

While the official record will always acknowledge Horizon guard Ethan Underwood as the hero, it’s likely to overlook the role played by St. Joseph Notre Dame’s Marcus Harris, who missed two free throws with four seconds remaining that could have iced the victory for the Pilots.

As rough as those misses may have been, Harris wasn’t the only Pilots player on the hook, either. Another St. Joseph Notre Dame starter, center Temidayo Yussuf, also missed two free throws with 11 seconds left. If any of those free throws had fallen through the title game would have gone to overtime. If the Pilots had split the group of four, they would have won.

Instead, they were the victim of yet another unlikely buzzer beater in the throws of high school March Madness.

"These guys are never out of a game,” Horizon coach Tyrone Hopkins told the Times. “They always believe.

“[And Underwood has] ice water in his veins.”

Here's another view of Underwood's state title-winner.

In the end that ice water, along with some ill timed free throw jitters, doomed St. Joseph Notre Dame, though it didn’t dampen its coach’s spirits.

"[The St. Joseph Notre Dame players have done] everything that I've asked them to do, and then a 30-foot throw wins the game,” Pilots coach Don Lippi told the Times. “But that's why they call it March Madness."

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