St. Pius X-St. Matthias boys basketball nearly knocks off Harvard-Westlake but misses final shot

St. Pius X-St. Matthias boys basketball nearly knocks off Harvard-Westlake but misses final shot

STUDIO CITY — The St. Pius X-St. Matthias boys basketball team had a chance to beat Harvard-Westlake, the defending CIF State Open Division champions at the buzzer, but senior guard Tyrone Riley missed what would have been the winning jump shot from 18 feet out, and the Wolverines held on for a hard-fought 72-71 win at home Wednesday night.

Harvard-Westlake senior guard Trent Perry, who recently signed with USC, had a game-high 20 points. Senior guard Robert Hinton added 17 points for the Wolverines, who improved to 8-0 this season.

“Credit to (St. Pius X-St. Matthias), they competed, they scratched, they clawed,” Harvard-Westlake coach David Rebibo said. “They did everything they needed to and gave themselves a chance to win and it was a good test for us and we’ll learn and grow from it.”

St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy (PMA), which wants to make the CIF-Southern Section Open Division playoffs this season, finished with five players scoring in double figures. The Warriors were led by senior point guard David Mack, who had a team-high 19 points, including 14 in the second half before fouling out with 3:39 to go.

When Mack, a transfer from Fairfax, fouled out, the Warriors trailed 67-60 but never quit. They ended the game on an 11-5 run.

“I loved how we fought,” Mack said. “I love how they never gave up. I push them in practice every day. We talk about never giving up, on the miles (the team runs before practice) we have to keep going, so that just translated to here and towards the end. Even when I fouled out, they still kept going and I was really proud of them for that, and I was proud of myself for pushing myself to keep them in the game.”

Riley made two free throws to cut Harvard-Westlake’s lead to 67-62 with 2:26 to go. Perry responded with an and-one, which pushed the Wolverines’ advantage to 70-62. Riley came back down with his own and-one, cutting HW’s lead to 70-65 with 1:39 remaining.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Warriors senior guards Tylon Williams and Dayvon Gates cut the Wolverines’ lead to 72-71 with 27.3 seconds to go.

Harvard-Westlake junior forward Isaiah Carroll, who finished with eight points and seven rebounds, missed two free throws with 18.2 seconds to go.

St. Pius X-St. Matthias coach Donte Archie called timeout with 9.7 seconds left and drew up a final play. Riley, who inbounded the ball, got it back with about two seconds to go but his jump shot, which was just inside the 3-point line, hit the front of the rim as time expired.

“Consistently play this way every game, not just because we played Harvard-Westlake, whoever we play, this is how we have to play,” Archie said. “We’ve been playing that way but I don’t want us to take a downward spiral after a game like this. It was a tough loss, our guys fought, we were down double digits, 15, 16 around that range and we fought back. We came up short but it was a great game.”

“Getting quality games is hard,” Rebibo said. “The traditional tournaments have kind of gone by the wayside and now everything is showcase-style almost, so finding quality games that want to come to or vice versa is something that’s really important, so when we reached out to them, they accepted and we’re excited that they did that and we hope more teams will do that.”

PMA (2-1) trailed 43-33 at halftime but won the third quarter 19-12 behind Mack’s 12-point outburst, which cut Harvard-Westlake’s lead to 55-52 heading into the fourth quarter.

“I just knew something had to change and I knew I could do it,” Mack explained. “So I just kept telling myself, you have to do something, you have to pick it up because that looked like the only thing that was missing, and once I put myself to it, it started to change.”

Riley, who recently signed with the University of San Francisco, scored seven points in the final eight minutes while playing through an apparent ankle injury for most of the game. The 6-foot-6 guard finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. Junior guard Tariq Bridges had 12 points (four 3s) in the first half, which kept the Warriors in contention. Senior guard Dayvon Gates had 12 points and four rebounds, and junior forward Douglas Langford added 11 points and nine rebounds.

The Warriors, who have been moved up to the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs this season, won the CIF-SS Division 3AA championship last season. That’s why they wanted to test themselves against an Open Division team, because being selected as an Open Division team this season is one of St. Pius X’s primary goals.

“I think they absolutely have a chance,” Rebibo said. “They do a lot of good things and I was very impressed with them and their poise. We had them down 19, the game should have been over and they continued to compete, fight and execute, a testament to them.”

Harvard-Westlake will host King/Drew (2-2) on Friday.

St. Pius X-St. Matthias will host Mayfair (5-3) on Friday.

Mack, the Warriors’ 5-foot-10 point guard, believes his team can reach new heights this season.

“I want (my team) to know that we can play with anybody and we can win,” Mack said. “We can do whatever, we’ve just got to be willing to put our minds to it and we can’t get discouraged and we just have to keep fighting. We have to start off like that in every game, and once we figure that out that we can do this and we can keep pushing, I think we’re going to be scary.”

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