Top-seeded CMS beat #4-seed Redlands 67-65 in the SCIAC Tournament Semifinal on Friday night. The Stags improved to 24-2 and will host #2-seed Pomona-Pitzer (16-9) Saturday night at 7:30 while Redlands finished the season at 13-13.
CMS fell behind 5-0 early in the game, but responded with a 11-0 run in the middle of the first half to take a 10-point lead they would never relinquish. Redlands, however, was able to keep the game in reach and cut the halftime lead to 35-30. Both teams shot 6-11 from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Stags built their lead up to 11 in the second half. The Bulldogs shot 14-22 (63.6%) and were able to slowly chip away at the lead as the Stags lost their three-point touch missing all five in the second half. Back to back shots by Bulldog senior Mychal Estrada cut the CMS lead to two points with less than two minutes remaining. Free throws proved to be the difference in the game as CMS outscored the Bulldogs 12-7 at the line in the half. A Tyler Gaffaney free throw gave CMS a three-point lead with 21 seconds remaining. Redlands cut the lead to one on a putback of a three-point miss and fouled Gaffaney on the inbounds play with 0.6 seconds remaining. He made the first and intentionally missed the second to run out the clock and give the Stags the win.
Mani Maceira led the Stags with 17 points. Chris Blees had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Joseph Anderson had a strong overall game for the Stags with 10 points, four rebounds, four steals and two assists. Tristan Kirk and Mychal Estrada both had 13 points for the Bulldogs. Brian Kuklok added 10 points.
CMS has now advanced to the SCIAC Tournament Final in all five years of the tournament and has faced Pomona-Pitzer three of the previous four times. The Stags are 2-2 in the final with both wins coming as a number one seed.