With his team trailing by two points and less than a second left in the game, senior guard Kurtis Wong tossed up a 3-point attempt — and as soon as the ball arced and the buzzer sounded, Wong knew he was part of another classic between these two cross-town rivals.
Wong hit the winning trey after the Wallenberg boys’ basketball team exploded for 21 third-quarter points to knock off host Lowell 44-43 Friday and clinch the Academic Athletic Association’s Neff Division title.
“I felt it leave my hands and I knew it was going in,” said Wong, whose Bulldogs broke a school record by winning its 23rd game this season. “This has been a great rivalry for like 10 years, [so] it was a great win for us.”
Wallenberg had looked flat in the first half and allowed Lowell to control the tempo with its organized defense and technical perimeter play, which Travis Hom punctuated with a steal and a score late in the half to pace a six-point lead.
But the second half saw an entirely different Bulldogs performance. Michael Chiu blazed out of the gate with a trey before Chibuzo Emeka followed up with a three-point play and the go-ahead layup to set the tone for a 21-5 third-quarter rout.
Lowell then edged a two-point lead with just 11.6 seconds left in the game after pouring in 19 down the stretch. But Darrin Mock then missed a crucial free-throw attempt, allowing Wallenberg to regain possession and Wong to sink his buzzer-beating trey.
ACADEMIC ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
Lowell 59, Wallenberg 44
If Lowell is going to repeat as AAA champion, it’s going to take heart, hustle and determination. After a slow start, the Cardinals
(22-4, 11-0) showed needed all of those qualities to overpower the Bulldogs (11-11, 8-5) at Kezar Pavilion.
Wallenberg jumped out to an early 5-0 lead behind the strength of Shawnte Taylor (31 points, 15 rebounds). The Bulldogs dumped the ball to the junior down in the post early and often and seemed to have the Cardinals off-balance at first. But Lowell got its legs back quickly, using their suffocating full-court pressure defense to ignite a 16-4 run to end the first quarter, and did not trail the rest of the way.
Heather Chow had 13 points and Kristina Lum 11 for the Cardinals, who displayed their long-range shooting efficiency early in the third quarter. After the Bulldogs had switched zone to man defense to start the second half, Chow, Sabrina Lum and Amanda Chow hit consecutive 3-pointers to put Lowell up 42-31 and pull away for good.
“It’s going to come down to their emotional state,” Kuwada said. “How much they want it, how hard they play.”
Washington 60, Balboa 17
Tierney Jones had 10 points and nine rebounds as the Eagles (14-11, 8-2) coasted past the host Buccaneers.
— Staff report