ORANGE – Unrelenting defense on both ends of the court highlighted the semifinal of the Dick's Sporting Goods Orange Holiday Classic between Tustin and Village Christian at Chapman University on Friday.
The play of Tustin's Nick Hornsby wound up being the difference.
Hornsby scored 17 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to help Tustin hang on for a 38-36 victory in a contest that wasn't decided until the final buzzer.
"He's a complete player," Tustin coach Richard Bossenmeyer said. "Where he has been truly consistent all year long is cleaning up glass."
The No. 6 Tillers (13-1) made only 13 of 46 shots. The Crusaders (12-2) were hampered by Tustin's signature zone defense and were just 12 for 49.
"It might not have been pretty but sometimes you got to gut them out," Bossenmeyer said. "We'll take it."
Tustin was leading, 38-36, but turned the ball over on a shot clock violation with 15.9 seconds to play.
When Village Christian's Bryan Alberts missed at the other end, Tustin's Deondre Bryant was fouled trying to grab the rebound.
But Bryant missed the front end of a one-and-one. Village Christian came down with the rebound and called time out with two seconds left.
The Crusaders inbounded the ball and quickly got it to Bryant, who wasn't able to get off his half-court shot before the buzzer sounded.
Bryant scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half, including six in the fourth, which helped the Tillers hang on to a lead that was never more than four points in the quarter.