By Nick Fortini
EL CAJON, Calif. – Down three with 14 seconds left, San Diego Christian coach Tim Cook called a timeout to figure out a play to send the game into overtime. Whether or not the play was ran to the precise execution Cook wanted, it hardly mattered as Derek Dickerson hit a 3-pointer to tie the game with four seconds left.
But in overtime, the Vanguard Lions (17-12, 6-8) were able to take control and finish the game off with an 87-79 victory. After Kevin Dawson converted a layup after his own miss, Vanguard rolled off a 10-2 run to seal the victory. The Lions' Kelly Taylor scored eight of their 14 points in the extra period. He finished with a team-high 20 points. Each starter for Vanguard scored double digits.
The Hawks (7-16, 4-10) got off to a scorching start in the first as they went 4-of-4 from the field in the opening two minutes, which quickly earned a timeout from Vanguard coach Rhett Soliday as SDCC went up 9-0. The Lions, however, were able to erase the deficit and get their first lead of the game with 12:23 remaining in the first with the score 14-13. Vanguard would ride its momentum and go into halftime leading 43-38.
In the first half, the Lions shot 56 percent from the field. Chris Gorman went 5-of-6 shooting with 12 points. Gorman finished with 18.
The second half, Vanguard came out and was hitting on all cylinders. They extended their lead to 15 with 14:23 left in the game. But SDCC started chipping away at the lead. Two quick baskets by Kwaminique Brown and Dickerson brought the Lion's advantage to 10. A tip-in basket by Jacob Garcia brought the game within five points as Vanguard led 62-57 with 5:08 remaining.
Dickerson had a game-high 23 points. Derrick Thompson was next and finished with 16 points, four rebounds and two steals.
After a small run by the Lions to bring their advantage back to 10, SDCC finished out the remaining 2:20 on a 10-2 run. No bucket was more important than Dickerson's 3-pointer as he hit the shot fading away to his left from the basket with a hand in his face.
Even though with the resurrection of SDCC's confidence and a major boost of emotion from the crowd, Vanguard was too much in overtime in the last regular season GSAC game of the year.
San Diego Christian shot 49 percent for the game including 7-of-17 (41 percent) from beyond the arc. They were outrebounded 34-31 and was on the wrong side of the turnover margin as the Hawks tallied 18 turnovers to the Lions' 14.
With the loss, SDCC will face top-seeded and No. 8 team in the nation Westmont College Thursday night in Santa Barbara. In the two meetings against the Warriors, San Diego Christian is 1-1. The Hawks lost the first meeting in Santa Barbara 90-72 before finishing off the upset at Ryan Athletic Center on Feb. 2 78-75. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m.