One was buried under an avalanche of free throws, and it was bombs away for the other as the Palma and Seaside high boys basketball teams were bounced out of the Central Coast Section Division IV playoffs Tuesday at Menlo School.
Seaside had the misfortune to go against a Harker team that looked like something out of the NBA, at least when it came to hitting free throws. The Eagles converted 22 of 25 to beat Seaside 71-61.
And if Harker’s free throw shooting wasn’t enough, Sacred Heart Prep unloaded a three-point shelling on Palma en route to a 62-45 victory.
How prolific was SHP’s long-range shooting? In the third quarter, all five of its field goals were 3-pointers. During a stage from late in the second quarter to early in the fourth quarter the Gators did nothing but sink 3-pointers – seven straight. For the game they totaled 10.
It was more than enough to dishearten a Palma team that saw its top two point-producers from Saturday’s quarterfinal win held to a combine nine points. Dalton Dovolis, a key performer for Palma down the stretch, was held to two meaningless free throws in the final minutes.
Peter Lucas, who had 19 on Saturday, was held to seven.
Ironically, it was Palma that came bursting out of the chutes in the second half of Saturday’s game with a barrage of 3-pointers, and that’s exactly what SHP did this time.
Palma held its last lead at 22-20 with 2:35 left in the first half. It ended with SHP up 27-22. The Gators sunk two 3-pointers to start the third quarter on their way to a 13-0 run.
Palma’s deficit stayed around seven to eight points, but SHP put the game out of reach when its lead ballooned to 15 with under six minutes to go.
Will Chilton led Palma with 18 points. Wyatt Maker added nine.
Sophomore Mason Randall topped SHP with five 3-pointers for 18 points and junior Corbin Koch had three 3-pointers and 19 points .
There were four ties and three lead changes in the first half with Palma never having a lead larger than two points.
Meanwhile, Seaside trailed 37-34 at halftime and 50-46 at the end of the third quarter.
It was a frustrating fourth quarter for Seaside, which quickly ran into foul trouble. Harker was in the bonus situation for nearly all the final quarter. And its free throw shooting was nothing short of spectacular. The Eagles essentially won this game at the free throw line.
Not only was Harker 22 of 25 from the free throw line for the game but it was 12 of 14 in the fourth quarter. Wei Wei Buchsteiner was 8 for 8 and Nicholas Nygen was 7 of 8.
In addition, Harker buried seven 3-point field goals.
Seaside, meanwhile, was just 8 of 17 from the line.
Chris Evans kept Seaside close from start to finish with 20 points and Ronnie Turner added 11.
But having to battle a couple of long-armed 6-4 players Harker’s front line had Seaside battling for everything it could get on both ends of the court.
With 5:39 to play Seaside trailed 56-54.
But Seaside trailed by eight with 3:56 left and was down only five with 2:36 to play. But 6-1 Kevin Su of Harker tipped in a missed shot and after Seaside hit two of four free throws, Su scored again to give Harker a 68-61 lead with 48 seconds to go to end the suspence.
Seaside had a seven-game win streak end and closes with an overall record of 15-4.
It was a wildly entertaining first half that saw Seaside take an early 17-9 lead. The Spartans were flooding the middle while also hitting a pair of 3-pointers to grab their advantage.
But it didn’t faze Harker, which hit six 3-point baskets in the first half. It helped set the Eagles on a 16-2 run that carried over into the second quarter for a 25-19 lead.
Harker took the lead to stay during the final seconds of the first half.
In addition to Harker’s shooting its slick ball-handling and dribbling, along with its 3-point show, had the large and vocal Harker crowd cheering loudly.
Seaside, however, was able to come back and pull within three at halftime. Evans scored 12 points in the first half, including the basket that put the score 37-34 Harker at intermission.