By: Wells Dusenbury
As Jovan Lawson stood at the free throw line with :45 seconds remaining and his team nursing a one-point lead, the senior went back to basics.
"Johnny O just taught me, 'Focus on the rim and everything makes sense after that.'"
His head coach's advice served him well. The senior nailed two late free throws and went 7-8 from the stripe in the 4th quarter to help give St. Andrew's a thrilling 48-41 win over Bishop Verot in the Class 4A Regional Semifinals.
"Our kids have been in big games," said Scots' head coach John O'Connell. "Seniors. Experience. They handled it. They handled it a lot better than I handled it," he said with a laugh.
The Vikings had a chance to tie with 35 seconds left, but tough man-to-man pressure from Scots forward Jake Bargas forced Mason Taylor to airball his shot. Off the rebound, St. Andrew's put an exclamation point on the night as they proceeded to break the Verot press, culminating in a Marko Radojicic dunk that sent the home crowd into an absolute frenzy.
The win gives St. Andrew's its first Regional Final berth since 2006, when the Scots navigated their way to the State Championship game.
The win also gave the Scots a level of redemption over Bishop Verot. Last year, the Vikings ended SA's season with a crushing 68-46 loss in the Regional Semifinals.
"We were on a mission," said senior guard George Andino. "We knew we had to beat this team if we wanted to get farther. We prepared all season for this game and we earned it. We deserved this win."
VIDEO: Highlights from St. Andrew's win
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