San Pedro High boys basketball got an early scare from upstart Huntington Park in their 2012-2013 season opener but thankfully for the visiting Pirates, junior forward Quincy Thomas was around to save the day.
Thomas converted on an 'And-1' layup and free throw with 1:14 remaining in regulation to tie the score at 50-50, and then when the Spartans scored to go up 52-50, Thomas would strike again with a rebound put-back layup as time expired to force overtime, and then would erupt with seven points in the extra period to guide San Pedro to a 66-56 victory over Huntington Park in a nonleague opener for both teams.
With that late flurry, Thomas would finish with 23 points, eight rebounds and four steals for San Pedro (1-0), who opened the overtime period on an 11-2 run, sparked by an 'And-1' from senior guard Elijah Gaines that opened off the run and put the Pirates ahead to stay.
The full-court pressure defense of the Pirates eventually wore down Huntington Park (0-1) down the stretch after Gaines' hoop, leading to a short jumper for a hoop by junior guard Isaac Stell, and then Thomas exploded with a mid-range jumper, a three-pointer, and a driving layup that opened up a 64-53 lead for the Pirates with 1:27 left in overtime that was more than enough to hold off the Spartans.
Huntington Park took a 26-21 halftime lead, and would eventually take a 38-28 lead midway through the third quarter as they forced numerous turnovers and got several San Pedro players into foul trouble with heady play. Junior guard Austin Freitas, who hit two three-pointers for San Pedro, eventually fouled out on a charging foul early in the fourth quarter as the Spartans tried to pull away.
Two key buckets off the bench from junior guard Zach Foster, followed by baskets from Gaines and Thomas led to the Pirates battling back to tie the game at 50-50.
With 12 seconds left, Gaines made his move and used a screen to try to win the game with a three-pointer, which was an airball, but thankfully Thomas was in the right place at the right time to grab the miss and put the ball in the hoop right before the buzzer sounded, and the Pirates erupted in total hysteria, grateful for the second chance the overtime period provided for them.
After that, it was all San Pedro.
Gaines finished with 13 points, six assists and five rebounds for San Pedro, who overcame a rough shooting night to prevail over Huntington Park, and will next face South East on Wednesday in a Belmont Tournament pool play game at Roybal Learning Center in Downtown Los Angeles.