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Villa Park misses the point, falls short in 2AA final
ANAHEIM – Villa Park was just one point away from sending the game into overtime.
But maybe the game should have gone into overtime.
At least four reporters covering the game had 11 points for J.W. North of Riverside in the first quarter. The Villa Park videographer's review of game video verified that. But the scoreboard, the official scorer and even the Villa Park scorekeeper had North with 12 in the first quarter.
Villa Park lost to North, 59-58, in the CIF-SS Division 2AA boys basketball championship game Saturday at Anaheim Convention Center.
Villa Park was trailing, 57-46, midway through the fourth quarter. But the Spartans, led by 6-foot-10 junior Lamont Tyler, rallied to make it 59-58 in the final minute. After North's Deshon Taylor missed a free throw, Villa Park called timeout with 15 seconds remaining. The Spartans worked the ball around in search of a good shot, found none and called a timeout with 5 seconds to go.
Bringing the ball inbounds from the sideline near the Villa Park bench, the Spartans' Kevin Olsen passed to Brian Arcinas, who quickly gave it back to Olsen 35 feet from the basket. Before Olsen could hoist a long attempt, Taylor stole the ball to secure the victory for North.
It is the Huskies' third CIF-SS boys basketball championship and their first since 1993.
Villa Park is 0-4 in CIF-SS boys basketball championship games. The Spartans previously lost section finals in 1997, 2004 and in 2006.
The additional point that reporters believed was awarded to North in the first quarter was a free throw by D.J. Richardson with 3:15 left in the quarter. Reporters had Richardson missing two free throws, but the official scorer and the Villa Park scorekeeper had Richardson making the first of the two foul shots.
When the first quarter ended and the scoreboard showed North with 12 points, neither the Villa Park coaching staff nor anyone else disputed the total. Villa Park coach Kevin Reynolds did not know of a possible discrepancy until it was mentioned to him during postgame interviews.
"I don't have an answer for that," Reynolds said when explained what could have happened. "We were pretty focused on other things."
Reynolds later reported that Villa Park's game video showed Richardson missed both free throws.
The Spartans focused on getting the ball to Tyler in the fourth quarter. He scored 14 points in the quarter to fuel the Villa Park comeback.
Tyler finished with 20 points. Luke Selway, also a junior, scored 16 points with 10 rebounds and four steals. Villa Park sophomore Kevin Olsen scored nine points on three 3-pointers.
North was led by 16 points from Dorian Butler.
Villa Park, which started two sophomores and two juniors, will continue its season in the CIF Southern California Regionals, the qualifying tournament for the CIF State Championships, this week. Entries, seedings and first-round matchups will be announced today.