‘I had to play center and usually I’m a guard,’ says Santa Fe Christian senior Sam Dudley
SOLANA BEACH — Santa Fe Christian was at a “large” disadvantage Friday when it squared off against Fresno’s San Joaquin Memorial at home in the Senators Division of the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic.
The Eagles’ four tallest players were unavailable — three to injuries and one to illness.
Still, the visiting Panthers (9-4) needed a buzzer-beating basket to claim a 57-55 victory in a basketball game that seemed destined to go to overtime.
Instead, Joseph Hunter put up a desperation shot that hit nothing but net to collect the victory.
After opening the season with eight straight wins, SFC (9-4) lost three games in the Titan Classic as they adjusted to leading returnee Trevan Martin being lost for the season with a foot injury suffered over the summer.
This game their tallest player was 6-feet-4, which resulted in a 37-25 rebounding advantage for Memorial (9-4). Countering that, SFC forced 25 turnovers while committing just 11.
“We lost four bigs so we had to step up like we always do,” said 6-3 senior Sam Dudley, who finished with 16 points. “I had to play center and usually I’m a guard.”
Still, the Eagles hung tough, and when Luke Haux scored his lone field goal of the game with 48 seconds to play, the game was tied at 55.
SFC never got the ball back as the Panthers used two fouls by the Eagles to control the final seconds, barely escaping a loose-ball scramble with seven seconds left as the 6-5 Hunter got his shot off.
Hayden Gray led SFC with 17 points and Keatten Smith added 12. Hunter paced San Joaquin Memorial with 18 and was supported by Stefon Young (13) and Jaden Geron (12).
Steve Brand is a freelance writer for the UT.