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Saturday, March 23 , 2019, 2:20 am | Fair 50º

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Boys Basketball

Noah Nuño’s Big Fourth Quarter Lifts Carpinteria Over Cate, 51-46, in CIF Quarterfinal

Senior guard scores 11 of his game-high 23 points in final period

Noah Nuno Click to view larger
Noah Nuño drives to the hoop in Thursday’s CIF showdown with Cate. He made three 3-pointers and scored 23 points. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Noah Nuño hit a huge 3-pointer and 5-6 free throws down the stretch on Thursday night as Carpinteria High rallied past Cate 51-46 in a CIF-SS 5A Division quarterfinal.

Cate was supposed to host the Route 192 Showdown but decided to move it to Carpinteria’s gym to accommodate a larger crowd. The fans were loud and crazy throughout the night.

Nuño scored 11 of his game-high 23 points in the final period to help the Warriors (15-13) erase a 36-32 deficit entering the fourth. He hit a pair of free throws to give the Warriors their first lead of the fourth quarter, 40-39, with 2:37 to play.

Then Nuño tossed in a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 43-39 advantage.

“That was the most intense game I’ve ever played in my life,” said Nuño, a senior left-handed guard who made 8-10 free throws in the final period. “It was so fun to be out there with the crowd going crazy.

“I practice free throws all the time and I love being in that situation. I make 10 in a row every day before I leave the gym.”

The Warriors will play the winner of No. 2 Oakwood at No. 7 Avalon in the semifinals. Oakwood and Avalon will meet on Friday at 4 p.m. If Avalon wins, Carpinteria will host the Lancers on Saturday at 7 p.m. If Oakwood wins, the Warriors will travel to North Hollywood.

Cate (13-5) regained the lead at 46-45 when sophomore Nkemka Chukwumerije fed Scott Holmes for a layup with 48 seconds left. Nuño hit two free throws to put the Warriors back on top by one. The Rams had a chance to retake the lead but misfired on four straight free throws.

Free throws were a huge factor as Carpinteria made 25-of-36, including 14-24 in the fourth quarter. Cate was 16-31 from the foul line and only hit 4-12 in the last eight minutes.

Nuño made 1-of-2 foul shots with 24 seconds to play, then sealed the deal by hitting two FTs with 0:12 remaining.

Chris Ramirez Click to view larger
Chris Ramirez drives past Parker May in the Route 192 Showdown. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

“We haven’t been to the CIF semifinals in I don’t know how long,” said Nuño. “I never thought it was possible at the beginning of the year.”

Cate edged the Warriors 40-37 earlier this season on Dec. 4 but Nuño didn’t play in that game.

“It was an amazing game, that’s what high school sports are all about,” said first-year Warriors coach Corey Adam. “To have a chance to play in a game like this … I don’t think either side is going to ever forget it.”

The Warriors took control from the start, leading 7-0 after five minutes and 9-2 after a quarter. Nuño drained a long triple and Dylan O’Neill hit a pair of free throws to push the lead to 16-4. The Rams started to find their range and pulled within six points by halftime, 25-19.

Cate coach Andy Gill was running on adrenaline as his wife delivered their first child, a boy named Crew, just 17 hours before tip-off.

“This was great for the community,” said Gil. “I knew we were in the same division and I told Corey before the season that we would see them in the playoffs. These games are fun. I think it rivals the Santa Barbara-San Marcos game, for sure.

“I wasn’t concerned when we down by a bunch. We left six layups on the court and six free throws. I told them when the shots start falling, the game’s going to turn. Basketball is a game of runs.”

Cate dominated the third quarter 17-7 and took its first lead at 31-30 on a breakaway layup by Mason Oetgen with 2:03 to go. The Rams pulled off a five-point play in the last three seconds of the quarter. Oetgen tossed in a driving 8-foot bank shot and was fouled. He missed the free throw and after a scramble, Holmes grabbed the ball near midcourt and heaved in a 40-foot swish to give the Rams their biggest lead, 36-32.

Chukwumerije led the Rams with 12 points and Ethan Ng had eight before fouling out with 1:30 to play. The Rams lost another key player when Khadim Pouye fouled out with just under four minutes to play and his team ahead 38-34.

“They’re one of the best defensive teams we’ve played all year,” added Adam. “They crashed the boards hard but we found a way to prevail. We played that whole fourth quarter with two freshmen on the court.

“After we lost to Santa Barbara by almost 30 (on Dec. 17), I told the guys they showed what they’re capable of. Santa Barbara is a huge school. I told our guys that if we continue to grow and play like that, we can make the semifinals.”

Adam and Gil previously served as assistant coaches with the Santa Barbara High boys team.

"None of this would have been possible without the mentorship I received from Joby Nunez who recently passed after a long fight with cancer," said Adam. "His son Danny is my best friend and Joby was a 2nd father to me since 6th grade."

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