Trouble closing: Young Crusaders stumble in overtime loss to Central

Sooner or later, the Modesto Christian High boys basketball team will close out a playoff-caliber opponent.

Until then, losses like Thursday’s to Central High of Fresno in the semifinal round of the Holiday Hoop Classic will sting.

Highly-touted guard Cash Williams scored 27 points and Cam’Ron Wilson scored eight of his 15 in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Grizzlies ended the Crusaders’ hopes of a title defense with an 83-79 victory.

All five of Modesto Christian’s losses have been by four points or less.

“I’m proud of them, but we need to execute,” Modesto Christian coach Brice Fantazia said. “We didn’t execute down the stretch. Some of the things we do in practice aren’t carrying over to the game, but I told them as long as they come out and play with everything God gave them, I can’t be mad at them.”

The Crusaders led by as many as seven points in the second half – the largest lead for either team – but needed a last-second shot by senior Darrian Grays to force overtime.

Matched up against Williams, Grays buried a fall-away jumper with 1.2 seconds left to make it 72-72. He accounted for Modesto Christian’s final five points in regulation and closed with 25, but only had one field goal in the four-minute overtime.

“There was no other choice but to go to him,” Fantazia said. “He’s hit big shots like that all summer. He hit big shots during the playoff run last year. He lives for that moment. With colleges here to watch him, I knew he was ready and called his number.


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