San Pedro High boys basketball senior forward James Fish, who had missed all seven of his prior three-point shot attempts in the third place game of the Pirate Shootout Tournament against visiting Gardena Monday, would be the one to cash in on yet another chance with the score tied at 70-70, with 7.5 seconds remaining in the game.
All it took was that one brief moment of freedom.
Senior point guard Khalil Dave took the inbound pass, drove to the middle of the paint to draw three Gardena defenders to him, and that left Fish completely alone in the right corner, and he would drill a three-pointer with perfect execution as time expired to lift the Pirates to a 73-70 victory over the Panthers to capture third place in their tournament for the second consecutive season.
Not only did that moment provide the perfect close to 2013 for San Pedro (10-5 overall), it also brought along redemption for Fish, not only because of the prior seven misses from downtown, but because of Fish not being able to send their game with Rancho Dominguez Prep of Long Beach last Saturday into overtime as he missed a potential game-tying three-pointer with two seconds left in the Pirates' 71-68 semifinal loss.
And to think it took Gardena nearly coming back from a 70-60 deficit was needed for Fish's moment of redemption.
A layup by senior forward Quincy Thomas gave San Pedro that 10-point advantage with 3:16 left in the fourth quarter, but Gardena (3-9) stormed back, and eventually tied the game when junior guard Christian Carbating nailed a three-pointer with 35.8 seconds let... still plenty of time for the Pirates to win, and they had three chances.
Fish clanks a three-pointer from the same corner he'd eventually hit the game winner, then junior guard Omar Monroe missed a three from the other corner, then scrambled for the offensive rebound with two Panthers, causing San Pedro boys coach John Bobich to quickly call a timeout to set up the final play of the game.
Thomas, who made the all-tournament team, led the Pirates with 22 points and nine rebounds. Dave had 18 points and six assists, while Fish finished with 11 points and six rebounds for San Pedro, who played without senior guard Zach Foster.
San Pedro will face Gardena two more times in the Marine League on January 24 at San Pedro, and February 12 at Gardena, but will next continue the 2013-2014 season at the Huntington Park Tournament on January 6.