Crespi (10-0) defeated Mission League rival Alemany 64-59 Wednesday night at Granada Hills High School for its second consecutive San Fernando Valley Invitational championship.
Michael Avery, an all-tournament selection, led the way with 18 points. Tournament MVP London Perrantes added 17, Carter Gallo scored 12 and all-tournament selection Michael Milligan Jr. contributed seven points.
After Crespi raced out to a 7-2 lead, the momentum shifted to Alemany. The Warriors roared back with a 17-5 run to open up a 19-12 lead in the second quarter.
Senior Justin Rubia, who scored nine points, made a tough contested shot in the lane and was fouled to cut the deficit to 24-21 at halftime.
In the second half, the Celts rose to the occasion.
“I think our defense was a lot better (in the second half),” said Perrantes. “Once we get out and run on the fast break, that’s where we score most of our points, and that’s how we came out with the win.”
The Celts took a 29-28 lead in the third quarter and never looked back when Avery rejected an Alemany shooter, and after a Milligan Jr. steal, he ran the length of the floor and finished with an acrobatic shot, knifing in and out of traffic.
“We kept playing hard,” said Avery. “We didn’t turn the ball over as much and just made free throws.”
Avery was a perfect 11-for-11 at the charity stripe. He scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half.
The Celts widened the margin to 54-44 on a Gallo in rhythm three-pointer in the fourth quarter, but Alemany cut the lead to three on three occassions. Each time they got within one possession, Avery had the answer – sinking six free throws with less than 30 seconds left.
“That’s just what I live for,” said Avery, who recently committed to Sonoma State. “I wanted to win so badly. I had to make those free throws.”
Crespi will travel to the Redondo Union Sea Hawk Beach Classic next week.