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Cypress rallies, earns trip to Uselton final

FOR OCVARSITY.COM

CYPRESS – Alex Heitman scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, and Cypress rallied from a big fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Pacifica, 56-53, Friday night in the semifinals of the Douglas Uselton Memorial Tournament at Oxford Academy.

Heitman led the Centurions (8-2) with 16 points. Jacob Rouse added 15 points, and Jalen Hall 14 for Cypress.

Brethren Christian will face Cypress in Saturday's championship game at 7:30 p.m.

Cypress had managed just nine points in the second and third quarters combined. The Mariners (6-1) entered the fourth with a 29-20 lead. A Brian Alvarez three-pointer extended that lead to 12.

Cypress used an 8-0 run to close to four back. Hall, who had missed a fastbreak dunk, had five points in that span.

"We challenged Jalen at halftime," Centurions coach Jeff Russell said. "He definitely responded in the second half."

Heitman stepped up next, knocking down a pair of threes to bring the Centurions to two behind.

With 1:05 remaining, Rouse intercepted a crosscourt pass, and his ensuing layup brought the Centurions even at 42. The teams entered the extra session by that same count.

"We weren't playing with the effort we needed," said Russell after his team completed the comeback. "Our full-court press sped them up."

In the overtime, the Mariners grabbed the early advantage. Cypress responded quickly, though, as a Heitman three-pointer capped a 7-0 run.

In the latter stages of the overtime, the two teams went to their top guns to close the game. Jordan Fleck, who had a game-high 17 points, scored six points in the final three minutes to keep the Mariners in it.

Brethren Christian 56, Western 54: Center Mamadou Ndiaye scored 41 points to help the Warriors (5-1) defeat the Pioneers (6-3) in the other semifinal.

The Warriors (5-1) trailed by eight late in the third quarter, but the 7-foot-5 Ndiaye, who is from Senegal, proved too much for the Pioneers (6-3).


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