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Tustin stays close, but fizzles at the finish

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

SUN VALLEY- Tustin picked a bad time to lose its shooters’ touch.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Tillers were locked in a four-point game on the road in a CIF-SS Division 1AA semifinal.

But Tustin scored just four fourth-quarter points and dropped a 58-44 decision to Village Christian on Tuesday night in a tiny and overcrowded gym.

Village Christian’s 6-foot-10 senior, Bennie Boatwright, had game-highs of 22 points and had 18 rebounds.

It was Boatwright’s two free throws with 4:14 to play that broke up nearly half of the final period without either team scoring a point.

T. J. Shorts led Tustin with 17 points, and the senior had the first of two fourth-quarter buckets for the Tillers. Kyle Herring had the other.

“We weren't getting a lot of second shots and just couldn't find a way to make a shot late,” Tustin coach Ringo Bosenmeyer said. “We had three or four possessions down 44-40 and got some decent looks, but we couldn't make a shot.”

George Wilson scored 16 points for the Tillers (27-3), including three 3-pointers. Wilson was shut out in the fourth quarter, and his technical foul with 1:32 to play and the Tillers trailing, 49-42, all but sealed their fate.

Boatwright made both free throws to send Village Christian (27-6) into the finals against Great Oak of Temecula.

“We played well in the first half and closed in on their shooters, but we didn't finish well,” Bosenmeyer said.

Tustin made 5 of its 6 free-throw attempts, which seemed like a low number considering the physical nature of play on both ends.

Village Christian, though, cashed in at the free-throw line, and made 20 of 24, including nine from Boatwright.

Jerrick Ahanmisihasi had 15 points for the Crusaders, including seven in the decisive fourth period.

Myles Gervin chipped in with four points for Tustin and Josh DeBest added 3.


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