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Coronado, Gorman to play for 5A boys basketball title — PHOTOS

Updated February 22, 2024 - 11:37 pm

Arbor View’s boys basketball team appeared to have momentum entering overtime against Coronado in Thursday’s Class 5A state semifinal after Maximus Romero hit a deep 3-pointer at the end of regulation.

Coronado coach Jeff Kaufman reminded his team that the extra four-minute period was another opportunity to get the win.

“I said, ‘Hey, we got four more minutes. What else are you going to say?’” Kaufman said. “We didn’t lose. We got four more minutes. That shot didn’t beat us, it caught us. Now we go get them.”

No. 1-seeded Coronado did just that, scoring the first eight points of overtime to earn a 78-69 win over No. 4 Arbor View at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Coronado (18-11) will face No. 3 Bishop Gorman a 61-56 winner over No. 2 Liberty in the other semifinal — at 7 p.m. Friday for the state title. The Cougars are seeking their first state championship.

Coronado defeated Gorman 74-63 on Jan. 20, the Cougars’ first win over Gorman in program history.

“I’m proud of every one of them,” Kaufman said. “They knew what they had to do, and they did it. In overtime, they just came out and they weren’t going to lose that game. That’s what we wanted to do — we wanted to get to the very last game.”

Junior Lantz Stephenson led Coronado with 28 points, and junior center Tee Bartlett scored 24.

Junior forward Brian Townsend led Arbor View (19-8) with 24 points. Senior forward and San Diego State commit Pharaoh Compton scored 18 points for the Aggies but fouled out with 3:32 left in the fourth quarter.

Coronado took a 58-54 lead with 35 seconds left after sophomore guard Jonny Collins knocked down a pair of free throws.

But Townsend hit a 3 with 26 seconds left, and Romero’s deep 3 with three seconds left sent the game to overtime tied at 60.

Collins opened overtime by scoring the first six points, as the Cougars went on an 8-0 run to take a 68-60 lead with 1:39 remaining.

“We had to win the (overtime) tip, and we had to go,” Kaufman said. “Let’s not let up. Let’s go hard, and they did. Once we did, we got rolling. They lost Pharaoh, and we started to attack the rim.”

Arbor View cut the deficit to 70-65 after Townsend made two free throws. However, Bartlett added a pair of dunks, and Stephenson had a fast-break layup as Coronado broke through the Aggies’ full-court press to pull away for the win.

Collins scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and overtime.

“I’ve told Jonny time and time again that I’m going to live and die with you. I’m riding with him,” Kaufman said. “If he makes a mistake, we got to keep going. He always seems to fix it, and he did a good job tonight.”

Arbor View led by as many as six points in the second quarter and took a 31-27 halftime lead.

Compton scored six points to start the third quarter to put the Aggies ahead 37-29 at the 5:50 mark. Coronado answered with a 9-0 run over the next three minutes to take a 38-37 lead.

“We’re a third- and fourth-quarter team,” Kaufman said. “That’s how we play. Nobody panicked.”

Arbor View defeated Coronado 68-63 in the regular-season finale Feb. 8.

“You’re going to be in big games. You just keep playing,” Kaufman said. “It worked for us because our guys didn’t panic, and they just kept playing.”

Gorman rallies late

Bishop Gorman will try to win its first state title since 2020 after knocking off Liberty.

Gorman ended the third quarter trailing by one point but opened the fourth with a 7-0 run to take a 45-39 lead with 6:39 left. The teams traded the lead three times and tied the score three times in the fourth.

Gorman’s Nick Jefferson stole the ball and scored on a layup to start an 8-0 run as the Gaels took a 56-50 lead with 1:11 left.

The Gaels (23-5) never gave up the lead, going 6-for-8 at the free-throw line down the stretch to secure the win.

“It’s great. It’s a good group of kids,” Gorman coach Grant Rice said. “We’ve been through a lot. We’re just happy we got a chance to play in the state title game.”

Ryder Elisaldez lead Gorman with 18 points. Liberty (19-4) had defeated Gorman 72-65 on Feb. 2.

“We were fortunate to get the win,” Rice said. “It was a hard-fought game. Liberty and Gorman, we always go back and forth. And we made big plays in the fourth quarter.”

The teams combined for two field goals through the first 6:30 in the first quarter. Andre Porter made a layup and knocked down a 3-pointer in the final minute to give the Patriots a 13-10 advantage after the first eight minutes.

Gorman took a 19-17 lead midway through the second quarter on a Jett Washington layup. But Liberty closed the half on a 5-0 run to take a 22-19 lead at halftime.

Liberty started to pull away in the third quarter, leading by as many as nine points after a Tyler Bright layup put the Patriots ahead 32-23 with 5:08 left.

Gorman responded with an 8-0 run over the next two minutes to cut the deficit to one. The Gaels took a brief 36-35 lead on a Washington jumper with less than two minutes remaining.

The teams traded the lead four times in the final two minutes. Tyus Thomas made a layup with 40 seconds left to put the Patriots up 39-38 entering the final quarter.

“It’s been an interesting year,” Rice said. “We’ve had games where we’ve won close games, we’ve lost some close games. It was our night tonight.”

Jefferson scored 14, and Washington added 12 for the Gaels. Thomas led Liberty with 15 points, and Porter scored 11.

“Looking forward to tomorrow playing against Coronado,” Rice said.

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on X.

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