Mission Prep’s Kyle Stewart stepped to the free throw line in a hostile Arroyo Grande gym on Monday night with the game on the line. After Mission Prep built up a 16-point leading heading into the fourth quarter, Arroyo Grande had stormed back to make it a four point game. That’s when Stewart had a chance to put the game out of reach with 50 seconds left.
“He hasn’t shot it well from the line this year,” Mission Prep coach Terrence Harris said after the game.
But that wasn’t the case on Monday night.
Stewart hit 8 of 10 free throws in the game and 5 of 6 in the fourth quarter to give Mission Prep a 67-59 win over Arroyo Grande. He finished with 26 points.
“I’ve just been trying to get into the gym and perfect my free throw routine and just focus late in the game and that has helped me a little bit,” Stewart said.
All things considered, Mission Prep should have cruised to an easy win after a big second quarter. The Roylas outscored the Eagles 22-8 going into half with a swarming full-court defense that put pressure on Arroyo Grande ball handlers and converted steals into points.
But Patrick Angle (22 points) and Bradley Mickey (15 points) combined for 19 fourth quarter points to shrink the lead.
“Our second game of the season we had a 14-point lead that ended in an overtime loss,” Harris said, “and when the game got close down the stretch here, we had some mistakes, but we also did some things right. We made some very clutch free throws and we found a way to battle through and get a W.”
“I’d love a 20-point win but gritting it out and getting a W under pressure, that does something for your team.”
Max Basile had a couple of clutch free throws of his own in the final quarter and finished with 17 points, the only other player on a deep Mission Prep team to score in double-digits.
“We didn’t get a W tonight, but I couldn’t be prouder,” Arroyo Grande coach Ryan Glanville. “The second half we just competed at a whole ‘nother level. We just have to figure out how to do that on a consistent basis.”
Arroyo Grande (9-7, 1-2 PAC 8) will compete again against Paso Robles on Wednesday. Mission Prep (8-7, 3-0) has to travel to St. Joseph to take on the 14-2 PAC 8-leading Knights the same night.
“We don’t expect to walk away with 20, 30 point wins every time we play,” Harris said. “Teams are going to fight, teams aren’t going to lie down. We just have to play 32 minutes. Just ask the Seahawks and Bengals.”
Atascadero 59, Paso Robles 43
The Greyhounds rolled to their first league win behind 20 points and 16 rebounds from Gabe Perry.
Will Scott made 3 3-pointers and added 10 points for Atascadero (9-5, 1-2 PAC 8).
Elijah Cooks had nine points, Trevor Howell scored eight and Marco Rojas had seven points and seven assists.
Paso Robles felll to 4-10 overalll and 0-3 in the PAC 8.
San Luis Obispo 72, Righetti 57
Alex Chai had 24 points to lead the Tigers (12-5, 2-1 PAC 8) over the Warriors.
Seth Moore added 17 points, and Nick Attala had 15 points and 12 rebounds. Will Compton had nine rebounds for the Tigers.
Tribune staff contributed to this report