San Marcos’ boys basketball team defeated Rio Mesa for the second time this season in Monday’s Jim Bashore Tournament semifinal at Carpinteria High School.
Bryce Ridenour knocked down a handful of free throws down the stretch of a 43-38 decision over the Spartans.
The Royals won despite only making one field goal in the final quarter. Ridenour made up for it by converting 9-of-10 free throws, including 7-of-8 in the last two minutes.
To go with his team-high 16 points, Ridenour collected eight steals in the game.
“I was just getting into passing lanes and trying to get to the rim, and I picked up some fouls,” Ridenour explained. “Just focusing on staying calm at the free throw line and get my legs under me to give the ball a chance.
“It worked out for me.”
Rio Mesa’s Martel Tyler finished with a game-high 17 points.
Up 31-30 to begin the quarter, Paxton Ridgway’s pull up jumper with 4:50 remaining gave San Marcos a 35-30 lead. The Royals’ final eight points came on free throws.
Rio Mesa cut the lead to a single basket three times in the final two minutes.
“We just never got into a rhythm shooting wise, I think that’s what made it so hard for us,” said Royals head coach Dave Odell.
San Marcos won the previous meeting between the two teams 71-54.
San Marcos (8-4) will now play in Tuesday’s tournament championship game versus Channel League rival Santa Barbara. It will be the first of four clashes this season between the two teams.
Rio Mesa falls into the third-place game with Arroyo Grande.