EL CAJON, Calif. – Senior Taylor Kelly (Bakersfield, Calif.) and sophomore Chris Gorman (Oceanside, Calif.) led Vanguard to an 87-79 Golden State Athletic Conference overtime win against San Diego Christian in the final game of the regular season.
Kelly scored a team-high 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting and Gorman posted 18 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals for the Pride.
Three other Lions managed double-digit scoring in the contest. Senior Ennis Whatley Jr. (Columbia, Md.) tallied 15, while sophomore Selle Hann (Dakar, Senegal) and junior Noel Larkins (Placentia, Calif.) recorded 11 apiece. Whatley also registered team-bests in rebounds (8) and steals (4).
San Diego Christian began Saturday's contest with an 11-0 run. Whatley broke Vanguard's silence at 17:38 and the Blue and Gold put together a 14-2 stretch of its own to steal the lead back with an exclamation point via a dunk from Vanguard sophomore Jordan Diandy (Dakar, Senegal).
The game went back-and-forth until the 11:07 mark when junior Brendan Holmes (Huntington Beach, Calif.) tied the contest (17-17) with a shot from behind the arc and from there the Lions began to heat up. Vanguard stayed out front for the remainder of the half, leading by as many as 10 points before taking a five-point (43-38) advantage into the locker room.
A 13-2 run out of the gate in the second saw Vanguard up 56-41 with 14:23 to play. The home team was determined, however, and cut the gap to three points in the final seconds of regulation. Coming out of a timeout with just five ticks on the clock, San Diego Christian got a clutch 3-point basket from Derek Dickerson to bring the score to even at 73-all.
Vanguard's sharp-shooter, Kelly, got a shot off with one second to go, but it would not fall and the game headed into overtime.
In overtime, there were two early ties, but the Lions prevailed behind five OT points from Larkins and eight by Kelly. Whatley also knocked down a free throw in the extra period as the Pride secured the important 87-79 win.
The victory gives the Lions the No. 5 seed in the GSAC Tournament which begins on Tuesday.
Concordia claimed the fourth seed in the conference tourney with its overtime defeat of Arizona Christian (RV) and will host the Lions on Thursday, February 28th at 7:30pm. Vanguard defeated CUI at home 82-78 on February 12th but lost by one point (82-81) the last time it played in Irvine.