Boys' basketball: Jordan Mathews delivers game winner for Santa Monica
With a trip to Sacramento at stake, the player who has risen up in big games all season, Jordan Mathews, came through again for Santa Monica High, calmly sinking a three-pointer with two seconds left, giving the Vikings a 53-50 victory over Los Angeles Loyola in the CIF Southern California Division I final on Saturday at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
“Big-time players make big-time shots, and we wanted the ball in Jordan’s hands,” Santa Monica Coach James Hecht said.
Loyola (25-6) had beaten Santa Monica (29-6) twice this season and made a courageous comeback after its standout guard, Parker Jackson-Cartwright, twisted his right foot and went down with 6:36 left and the Cubs down by eight.
Thomas Welsh, Loyola’s 7-foot center who was scoreless in the first half after missing all six of his shots, tied the game with 1:54 remaining at 50-50 with his 17th point of the second half. Loyola twice had opportunities to take the lead.
Max Hazzard missed a shot, and Loyola had the ball with 38 seconds left. Then Mtume Armour took a quick shot, missed and Santa Monica suddenly had the ball with 29.7 seconds left and set up a final play for Mathews, the California-bound senior.
“I knew we were going to hit them with a dagger,” said Mathews, who finished with 19 points. “I felt good about hitting it.”
Troy Maloney made five three-pointers and finished with 17 points for Santa Monica. Trey Mason had 13 points and Jackson-Cartwright 10 for Loyola.
Santa Monica will play Elk Grove Pleasant Grove in Friday's 8 p.m. Division I final in Sacramento.
-- Eric Sondheimer