Modesto Christian comeback bid falls short

SALIDA -- The Modesto Christian High boys basketball team remains a work in progress.

It's got a true superstar in UCLA-bound forward Reeves Nelson while the remainder of the roster is steadily gaining experience.

In MC's 79-77 quarterfinal loss to Inglewood in the Modesto Christian Holiday Hoops Classic Saturday night, the near-capacity crowd saw both sides of the Crusaders.

On one side was the fast and furious style that nearly brought MC back from a 23-point deficit. A run-and-gun effort that had Nelson making plays on both sides of the court while it seemed like every Crusader made shots.

Then there was the team that played in the first quarter; one that couldn't complete a pass against a swarming Inglewood defense. The Sentinels led 37-14 after the first eight minutes, a deficit that was nearly insurmountable.

The Crusaders chipped away at the lead after the first quarter. And in a flurry of long-range shots, they actually tied the game. Nelson's 3-pointer with 24 seconds left knotted the score at 77-all.

But the Sentinels calmly brought the ball down the court and, with the final seconds ticking away, Dashawn Gomex made a floater from the lane with 2 seconds left for the game-winner. Gomex had a game-high 31 points.

Nelson had a shot at the buzzer, his running 3-pointer bouncing off the backboard and rimming out. Nelson finished with a team-high 23 points.

There was little the Sentinels could do wrong in the first quarter.

Desean Anderson and Gomez each scored 13 points as Inglewood rarely missed a shot in jumping out to a 37-14 lead.

The quicker Sentinels also kept the Crusaders from getting the ball to Nelson.

But the Crusaders chipped away in the second quarter. Leo Prophete scored 11 points. Hutton and Nelson each added six.

Related stories from Merced Sun-Star