Tustin can't hold off Palm Desert's late charge
TUSTIN – For three quarters Tuesday night, Tustin and Palm Desert got production from unlikely sources as they headed into the fourth quarter all tied up.
But their stars emerged in the final quarter and Tustin came up on the short end, dropping a 49-44 decision to Palm Desert in the CIF-SS Division 3AAA quarterfinals at Tustin High.
Junior Deondre Bryant scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half for the Tillers (22-7), including six in the fourth quarter. He also grabbed seven of his game-high nine rebounds in the second half.
“He’s our rock,” Tillers coach Richard Bosenmeyer said. “He is completely unselfish and what this program is all about.”
The Tillers, the No. 5 seed in the division, trailed for three-and-a-half quarters before a Rob Nelsen jumper in the paint gave them a 38-36 advantage with 5:36 to go.
Quinnton Roberson followed that up with a steal and breakaway layup on the ensuing possession and the Tillers eventually led 44-40.
Nelson finished with 14 points and Roberson with four points and a blocked shot.
But Palm Desert (23-5) finished the game on a 9-0 run thanks to their duo of Jonathan Serven and Robert Romero, who combined to score the final six points of the game.
“We tried to deny (Serven) in the first half and he didn’t score,” Bosenmeyer said. “But we let (Romero) get by and (in the second half) it was pick your poison.”
Serven finished with 16 points, all in the second half, including 11 in the fourth quarter. He also had five steals, two in the final minute to seal the victory.
Romero led Palm Desert with 18 points, 12 of those coming in the first half.
“Great players can make you look like a really good coach,” Palm Desert coach Don Brady said.