AZUSA, Calif. — It’s heartbreaking to come so far yet come up short. That was the case for the Crossroads Roadrunners (20-9) who fell to their rival, the Brentwood Eagles (24-7), 48-41 in the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA championship game.
Crossroads had led for the majority of the game but were outscored 34-22 in the second half including 19-10 in the fourth quarter alone. The Eagles didn’t take their first lead until the final quarter with just over six minutes left in the game.
The Roadrunners had come into the game on a 10-game winning streak dating back to the regular season. They had previously beaten the Eagles twice, both at home and on the road.
They jumped out to an 11-2 lead and pushed it to 16-7 at the end of the first quarter. They only managed three points though in the second quarter as the Eagles started to close the gap.
Senior forward Shareef O’Neal, who had been a driving force in the previous wins over Brentwood, was quiet for most of the second half as he faced strong defensive pressure. He finished the game with only nine points.
“They made the adjustments, they stuck to Shareef a lot. Our guys kind of weren’t looking for Shareef in his spots,” Crossroads head coach Anthony Davis said after the game. “When you’re getting double and triple teamed you have to throw it in at a certain time. If you’re a second too late, you’re too late. That’s what was happening. They disrupted our rhythm.”
As he’s done all season long, senior guard D.J. Houston tried to keep Crossroads within striking distance. When the Eagles took control of the game in the fourth quarter, Houston kept attacking the rim and finishing quickly to extend the game as long as possible. He finished with a game-high 17 points.
Forced to play the foul game in the last-minute of the fourth quarter, the Roadrunners watched as the Eagles knocked a few clutch free throws to seal the win. It was a difficult end for Crossroads who had used a strong second half of the season to make a run to the division championship game.
“We knew it was going to be rocky with me as a first-time head coach, getting a new system with new players and getting them to buy in,” Davis said. “We predicted the season would end like this, but we predicted we would be champions. Maybe it’s on me as a head coach, I got to do better to put my players in better positions. I’m taking this loss for sure.”
(Highlights courtesy of Mars Reel)