Two boys basketball teams trying to make history met Friday night in a Riverside gym.
Coast Union High School was trying to make its first CIF playoff finals appearance since 1999. Sherman Indian had never made it past the second round until its run this season.
When it was over, Sherman Indian proved too big and physical and added a new chapter to its historic season with a 53-48 win in the CIF-Southern Section Division 5A semifinals, ending the Broncos’ playoff run.
“They just did a great job of hammering us on the offensive boards,” Coast Union head coach Tim May said. “It’s tough to win ball games when you give the other team extra possessions.”
Led by 6-foot-6 senior Anthony Running Horse, Sherman Indian, a Native American boarding school, has three players 6-foot-4 and over while most of the Coast Union players hover around 6-foot.
Adding to the frustrations, May said his team couldn’t hit shots in the first half despite open looks, and Coast Union trailed 21-13 at halftime. Coast Union started hitting shots in the third quarter and closed the Sherman Indian lead, setting up a back-and-forth final quarter. The Broncos trailed by six with six minutes to play and had a chance to tie in the final seconds after turning up the pressure defense, but the shooting turned cold again.
Coast Union finished the game shooting 29 percent from 2-point range and 25 percent from 3-point range. Senior Jez Lawson finished the game with 17 points and four assists, and senior Auggie Johnson added 12 points and three steals.
May said he was proud of his team for sticking to its “all-in” motto all season. When the school hosts a pep rally Thursday, May said he plans to share the lessons learned this season.
“I’m not a gambler, per se, but I do enjoy the idea of going all in on something. It’s about putting time and effort into something and rallying around a common goal,” May said. “Any team can make it. Tthose kind of things can happen when you put that kind of time and effort in to something.”