A slow start in the fourth quarter nearly doomed the Palos Verdes boys basketball team in Tuesday night's Bay League battle with Mira Costa.
After watching its 12-point lead dwindle to two, PV roared back, outscoring Mira Costa 15-1 in the final 5:38 minutes to earn a 51-39 victory.
"It's something we've been doing all year," PV's Jack Good said. "When it gets close, we stay together and just push through."
Good was a big part of helping PV (20-3, 5-2) come back in the final quarter. His inside bank-shot gave the Sea Kings a four-point lead with five minutes to play, but it was his defensive awareness that gave PV a shot in the arm. Good finished with 14 points, 6 rebounds and a block.
Good's defensive rebound led to Greg Smart's baseline jumper, and a steal on Mira Costa's next possession led to Jack Engstrom's bucket that gave PV a 46-39 lead with 4:14 to play.
"We were able to crash the glass, force turnovers and we finished at the rim," PV coach Brian Edelman said.
While Good helped PV bounce back after nearly losing its lead, Engstrom helped the Sea Kings pull away.
Engstrom grabbed one of his 10 rebounds before sinking the putback to help open up a 28-39 lead, and his defensive rebound set up Simon Shafiee's three-point play on the offensive end. Shafiee finished with 6 points.
"We knew (Tuesday) was a big turning point in our season, especially coming off the loss (to Peninsula last Tuesday)," said Engstrom, who also finished with 12 points. "We knew we had to win our next five games, and we worked hard in practice all week."
Both teams got off to a slow start, scoring a combined 12 points in the opening quarter as PV took a 7-5 lead into the second.
Good helped PV open up a five-point lead before Elijah Simpson's 3-pointer with 4:16 left in the half made it a 16-8 ballgame. Simpson, who scored all five of his points in the second, converted a layup with 3:41 before halftime that gave PV a 12-point lead.
Greg Smart added 9 for PV, and Syris Turks finished with 8.
Mira Costa (15-9, 4-3) was held to one field goal in the second quarter, Carson Carey's jumper with 0:59 seconds to play. The Mustangs totaled 12 points in the first half before coming out in the third with a 19-point third quarter.
"We had a lot of good looks in the first quarter, but we couldn't hit them," Mira Costa coach Neal Perlmutter said. "(PV's) aggressiveness shut us down tonight. We were down 12 and able to cut it to two. That's been the character of this team all season."
Max McCalla led Mira Costa with 9 points, while Henry Householter and Carson Carey added 8 apiece.
"I thought Max did a good job getting to the basket and making shots. He's been passive at times," Perlmutter said.
The win was a historic one for PV, marking the first time since the school reopened (2002) that the program totaled 20 wins. But the Sea Kings are not satisfied, yet.
"The kids bought in and their hard work is paying off," Edelman said. "We're not done yet, and we can't be satisfied now. We have a month-plus left of basketball to play."