TEMECULA – In an ending that will be etched in Great Oak basketball lore, freshman sensation Jaxon Allensworth transformed a tightly contested game into a page straight out of a storybook with a remarkable buzzer-beater that has the whole town talking.
This story is almost about Crespi’s Malakai Perrantes, who tied the game with three straight free throws after being fouled downtown with mere seconds on the clock. But instead, it was Allensworth that did what seemed unthinkable.
After getting the inbound pass, the freshman standout launched a desperate half-court shot as time expired. That shot soared through the air, seemingly in slow motion, before descending through the net – a miraculous Hail Mary that sent waves of electric energy reverberating through the gymnasium.
For the Crespi Celts, coached by Derek Fisher, a legend not only for his five NBA championships with the Lakers, but also for dramatic clutch shots, this loss no doubt stung with particular irony. Despite his vast experience and guidance, sometimes the unpredictable nature of sports writes a script even the most seasoned veterans can’t predict.
As Great Oak savors a Cinderella tale victory in the CIF Southern Section over a well-respected Crespi squad, it’s not just the win that will be remembered, nor the singular act of the shot itself. Instead, it’s the enduring image of unadulterated joy – a freshman standing calm and collected, channeling poise beyond his years to take and make the shot of a lifetime. It was a testament to the importance of mental fortitude and composure under pressure, qualities that define not just great athletes, but great people.
Crespi’s Celts, under the vast shadow of their coach’s legacy, are a formidable team. Led by Drew Fisher, with the prominent presence of former NBA great Matt Barnes’ freshmen twins, Isaiah and Carter, they finished their season with commendable unity and resilience. This team had the qualities all season that have defined their entire play throughout an impressive 24-8 overall run.
Great Oak will now advance to the Division 2AA quarterfinals on February 13, where they will face Thousand Oaks, who beat Linfield Christian, 64-49, in second round action. Brackets can be found online at www.cifss.org.
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