"We were still in the game with five minutes left and an eight-point margin," said Rebels Coach Garrett Ohara, whose team won the Southern Section Division 5-AA championship on Saturday and entered the state tournament as the No. 2 seed in the Southern California bracket. "We were just hoping at some point things would settle down or we would knock down a shot or make a free throw."
Jason Pepperes' three-pointer, set up by one of St. Bernard's 18 offensive rebounds, gave the Vikings a 49-40 lead with just over five minutes to play and the lead was pushed into double-digits for good not long after.
Prep center Kenyatta Smith's final moment of his high school career and dominant senior season was quite fittingly a spin and slam dunk over a pair of defenders, but with a 14-point deficit with 41.5 seconds left, all his emphatic two-hand stuff could do was alleviate some of the frustration at being bottled up the entire second half.
After scoring 10 points in the first quarter to help the Rebels weather an early 9-0 run by the Vikings, Smith was held to nine for the rest of the game by a combination of multiple defenders attached to him and a full-court press that kept the Rebels from effectively running their halfcourt offense, when not turning the ball over outright.
"We weren't really playing our game, we weren't slowing things down, we were sort of trying to rush everything," Smith said. "We've got to realize that once we slow things down, everything in the halfcourt will come. Our halfcourt offense was starting to work, we just forced too many turnovers on ourselves. We basically defeated ourselves."