Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Leigh defenders surround Mountain View center Brian Kaestner in Saturday’s game.
A boys basketball team known for its offensive execution failed to do so in the critical final seconds of Saturday’s Central Coast Section Division II quarterfinal game.
After letting a 12-point lead slip away in the second half, Mountain View High had 25 seconds to respond to a 3-pointer that put Leigh ahead by two. But the seventh-seeded Spartans failed to get up a shot – frantically passing the ball around the perimeter before turning it over with two seconds to go – and the No. 2 Longhorns escaped with 41-39 victory.
“We’d like to have that last possession back,” center Brian Kaestner said, “but it happens.”
The Spartans (16-10) came away empty on several possessions in the fourth quarter, scoring just five points and committing five turnovers.
This allowed Leigh (21-7) to get back into a game in which it scored only 15 points by halftime.
Up eight at intermission, Mountain View extended its advantage to 34-22 on Sammy Khidir’s midrange jumper with 1:22 left in the third. The Longhorns scored the next 10 points, however, slicing the Spartans’ lead to 34-32 with 6:17 to play.
Kaestner answered with a bucket from the low block and made another close-range shot after Leigh scored off an inbounds play, putting the Spartans ahead 38-34 with three minutes left. Kaestner, who tallied a team-high 12 points, didn’t get off another shot.
“They were collapsing on me pretty good and I couldn’t get much,” the 6-foot-5 senior said. “You need to get stuff inside to win games, and we weren’t getting it tonight.”
The Longhorns scored back-to-back baskets to tie the game before Corey Fitz split a pair of free throws to put Mountain View back on top, 39-38, with 45 seconds to go.
Then came Kimo Francisco’s deep game-winning 3 for Leigh’s second lead of the contest.