Jeff Smith noon, March 8
Knights take second from Pirates with last-minute victory
OCEANSIDE – San Marcos and Oceanside met for the second time in the preseason on Wednesday night, and familiarity bred a defensive game that came down to the wire. San Marcos broke a 45-45 tie with a pair of free throws by senior guard Tyler White with 16.6 seconds left, and the Knights stopped Oceanside twice after taking the lead to prevail with a 47-45 win.
“We’ve been playing in tournaments and this is our first real game,” White said. “It feels good to come here to Oceanside and get a good win.”
Oceanside (11-3) took a 45-43 lead with 45.1 seconds left on a Jay Brust three-point play, and White raced down the floor to tie the game up just 10 seconds later. With Oceanside inbounding the ball underneath the San Marcos basket on the ensuing possession, White stole a long inbounds pass and took it the length of the floor, drawing a foul on a missed layup attempt.
“I saw the ball go up in the air and I just went for it,” White said. “I tried to tip it over their heads and go get it, and it worked out well.”
After White’s free throws gave San Marcos (11-4) a two-point lead, Oceanside still had two chances to tie the game. Pirates junior point guard Tofi Pao Pao missed a floater with 7.5 seconds left but Oceanside retained possession, and after a timeout San Marcos senior guard M.J. Bailey deflected an inbounds pass intended for Pirates senior forward Jeremiah McNerny in the lane to seal the victory.
“There’s definitely still some fire between these two teams and it’s fun to come out here and get a win – it’s always a good game,” White said.
After an even first quarter, Oceanside used defensive pressure and trapping to grab the lead. The Pirates opened the second quarter on an 8-3 run and scored the last eight points of the half to take a 26-18 lead.
“We were a little flustered,” White said. “We have some young guys on the team, but the veteran guys were able to step up and make good plays out there.”
San Marcos scored the first nine points of the third quarter to quickly erase its halftime deficit, and the Knights traded baskets with Oceanside after that. White made a putback at the buzzer – two of his 11 third-quarter points – to put San Marcos ahead 36-35 headed into the final quarter.
“I took it upon myself to try and get my team back in it – get everyone going,” said White, who finished with a game-high 20 points.
San Marcos led by as many as six points in the fourth quarter, and held off Oceanside in the last two minutes for the victory. The Knights beat the Pirates 63-43 on Dec. 10 in the Eagle Holiday Classic at Olympian High.
“Last time we played them one of our players got really injured and we were down at that point. That win kind of boosted us back up,” White said.
White scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half and was the only San Marcos player to finish in double figures. The Knights have now won their last five games.
“We could be really good or we could be really bad – it just depends on how we decide to play every game,” White said. “Right now we’re going in a good direction.”
Brust scored 14 points to lead Oceanside. The Pirates came up short in their first true home game of the 2011-12 season.
San Marcos – 47 (9-9-18-11)
White 20, Bailey 9, Perez 9, Preston 6, Pacia 3 (starters)
Oceanside – 45 (9-17-9-10)
J. Brust 14, Gilbert 7, Torres 6, Pao Pao 4, McNerney 2 (starters) Crangle 7, Winicki 3, Elliot 2
Pictured: San Marcos guard Mark Pacia drives to the basket under leaping Oceanside guard Tofi Pao Pao
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