Last-second shot doesn't fall for Titans
BY CLAY WHITTINGTON - CWHITTINGTON@VICAD.COM
Feb. 21, 2012 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 21, 2012 at 8:22 p.m.
SEGUIN - John Grammer knew the game could come down to a single point.
And in Victoria East's playoff opener, it did.
Trailing 45-44 with 6.09 seconds remaining in the game, East had the ball with an opportunity to win.
But after having the inbounds pass deflected, the Titans were forced to scramble.
Luckily, East freshman guard Johnathan Ortega secured the ball and found Xavier Ellis along the baseline for an open eight-foot jumper.
The 6-foot-5 post was able to get the shot off in time, but it ricocheted off the rim and the Titans' season came to an end against San Antonio Burbank in the bi-district round Tuesday evening at Seguin High.
"I talk to the guys just about every day in practice and especially as we got into the playoffs that we are looking for just one point," Grammer said. "I told them, 'One of these games, it is going to come down to one point.
"It could be a turnover, a missed shot or a bad defensive play. That would have been something if that last shot went in, but it didn't."
Had the Titans been able to hit some shots early or some free throws - East was 10 of 20 from the free-throw line - it might not have come down to a final play.
East trailed 11-6 after the first quarter following a 1-for-11 shooting performance in the period. The deficit grew to a dozen points, 23-11, in the second quarter before the Titans used a 11-2 run spearheaded by Ian Sharpless' nine second-quarter points to 25-22 .
The Bulldogs answered with a basket before the end of the period and took a 27-22 advantage into halftime.
Burbank's lead grew to 35-29 by the end of the third quarter, but Ortega, who was playing in just his fourth varsity game made a 3-pointer with 6:48 remaining to tie the game 35-35.
"I thought we had it," Ortega said.
But they did not.
The Bulldogs scored four consecutive points to go up 39-35, and the Titans could not get any closer than one point.
Junior Ian Sharpless led the Titans with 15 points, while Ortega added 11 and Hill finished with nine.
With six players graduating, the team will look very different next season, but Ortega will be around for years to come after quickly earning the respect of his teammates and coaches.
"He had a meteoric rise," Grammer said. "He's special. He's got a special disposition, where he doesn't seem to get nervous like most freshmen do.
"We are definitely looking for big things from him in the future."