PASADENA — Just when it seemed like the Bishop Amat High boys’ basketball team was about to steal momentum and perhaps more from La Salle High on Friday evening, the host Lancers answered back.
That included a big three-pointer from senior Jordan Hill, his lone triple of the contest, as La Salle picked up its first Del Rey League win this season in a 56-50 victory.
The 6-foot-1 Hill led all scorers with 19 points, but fired off the shot of the night when he hit a 25-foot three-pointer with 3:37 left in the contest right before the shot clock expired to put La Salle (12-8 overall, 1-1 in league) up, 49-42.
“I just saw that time was running down and I had to shoot,” said Hill, who also added seven rebounds and four steals. “This was a real emotional game and it was big to get the win.”
Momentum only turned on the previous possession for Bishop Amat (11-8, 0-1), which pulled within 46-42 on its own three-pointer from Trevor McGee, who was assisted by Taylor Olvera.
Bishop Amat then kept La Salle out the key on its next possession and forced senior guard Peter Nuguid to kick out to Hill, who fired from deep.
Bishop Amat attempted to battle back from Hill’s three-pointer and pulled within five after a rebound and put back from Joseph Cook off a miss from Olvera.
However, Hill answered with a 15-footer with 1:58 remaining to push the score back up to seven at 51-44.
Again, Bishop Amat clawed back to five on two free throws from Olvera with 1:46 left, but didn’t pull any closer than five until Olvera was fouled with 34.5 seconds left and La Salle leading, 54-49.
Olvera hit his first free throw before missing the second, which was rebounded Cook, who fired a three-pointer that missed, which subsequently ended Bishop Amat’s last gasp.
“It was fortunate plays for us and obviously the big three at the end of the shot clock was huge,” La Salle Coach Steve Goldstein said. “It that doesn’t go in, it’s a much tighter game.”
There were six ties and five lead changes in a game in which La Salle held a slim 38-37 advantage with 30 seconds left in the third after a three-pointer from Bishop Amat’s Jeff Wold.
Bishop Amat hampered its own chances on the very next play when Olvera was called for a technical foul after disputing a no-call of a potential double dribble by Hill on La Salle’s next turn down court.
Hill sank one of two free throws and then dished to sophomore Conor Williams for a 15-footer with three seconds left that put La Salle up, 41-37, to close the third.
The technical foul was the second for Bishop Amat, as Cook was called for a violation in the second quarter when he boasted after a blocked shot of Jake Stoddard.
In the fourth quarter, Bishop Amat was also called for an intentional foul when by Nate Burchardt pulled down Jeff Briegel on a rebound attempt.
“I thought all three calls were questionable,” Bishop Amat Coach Brandon Ertle said. “Our character is usually excellent and I thought it was very good tonight and I thought all those fouls were questionable.”
Briegel finished with 11 points and nine rebounds, while Williams added nine points and Israel Lacy contributed eight points.
Cook led Amat with 17 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.