Late charge helps Loyola knock off Taft

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles (Calif.) point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright caught a long pass in the back court off of a Loyola out-of-bounds play with 2:50 left in the fourth quarter.
He whipped a quick pass to one of his favorite targets, Trey Mason, in the left corner. Mason took one dribble and kicked it back out to Jackson-Cartwright.
The 5-foot-11, Arizona-bound floor general took two dribbles toward the basket and as Mason's defender helped off the deadly 3-point shooter, Jackson-Cartwright flipped it back to Mason for a clutch 3-pointer.
Mason's shot gave the Cubs a momentum-boosting six-point lead with 2:37 left on the clock, capping Loyola's rally from an 11-point halftime deficit.
It took 13 seconds for that play to unfold. And those 13 seconds were the key to Loyola's 76-68 victory over Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft in a first round CIF Division I State Playoff game Wednesday night at Loyola High.
This was Loyola's first game since losing to Long Beach (Calif.) Poly in the Division IAA quarterfinals back on Feb. 22, and Cubs' head coach Jamal Adams said he felt the time off hurt his squad on Wednesday.
"We were off for two weeks and we were out of game shape and out of rhythm," he said. "But we were able to find a way (to win)."
Jackson-Cartwright said it was more of a mental problem for Loyola.
"I wouldn't say (we were out of) game shape," he said. "I would say it was mental shape. We weren't real high on IQ tonight."
Despite being out of rhythm and committing uncharacteristic mistakes, the Cubs (23-7) came away with the eight-point win behind 20 points, 15 rebounds and six blocked shots from class of 2014 7-footer Thomas Welsh.
Jackson-Cartwright had his typical impact, scoring 16 points while dishing out 12 assists. Mason scored 16 of his 18 points in a crucial second half effort, including all three of his makes from behind-the-arc.
Loyola trailed by as many as 13 in a first half that was controlled by Taft (15-15) and both Adams and Jackson-Cartwright said that Loyola was caught a bit off guard by the Taft attack.
"I think we underestimated their speed a little bit," Adams said. "They were beating our pressure, so we decided to load up and keep them in the half court and that really worked to our advantage."
Senior guard Kris Yanku, who will play his college basketball at Northern Arizona next year, led all scorers with 28 points. Fellow senior Usama Zaid finished with 19, while sophomore guard Darius Henderson added 14 for the Toreadors.
"We played a good team," Jackson-Cartwright said of Taft. "They really challenged us on defense in the first half. They scored 40 points, and that's really unlike us."
Loyola moves on to play Lake Forest (Calif.) El Toro (28-6) on Saturday at 7 p.m.
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