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Tesoro guard Carson Brown drives past Rancho Verde's Anthony Smith Jr. during a CIF-Southern Section high school basketball playoff game, Tuesday,, Feb. 14, 2023 at Tesoro High School in Las Flores, Calif. (Ryan Kuhn, SOCoPrepSports.com)

Basketball

Carson Brown comes through in the clutch helping Tesoro boys basketball move on to CIF semifinals

Brown scores 22 points and become’s the program’s all time scoring leader

LAS FLORES— Tesoro’s boys basketball team has only lost four games all season.

All four of them were decided in the final minute.

But senior Carson Brown wasn’t going to let the season end on Wednesday night.  

Brown led Tesoro to a 40-37 win with 22 points and hit a jump shot with a defender in his face in the final minute as the Titans advanced to their first CIF-Southern Section semifinal since the 2014-2015 season.

“Those are shots that I’ve been practicing,” said Brown, who also became  Tesoro’s all time scoring leader with 1,384 points. “It just felt like a normal shot that I’ve taken before even though it was a tense moment.”

Tesoro took control of the game early by being patent and driving inside to find different lanes to get to the hoop.

Even when they missed, the Titans crashed the boards and went into the second quarter with a 15-8 lead. 

Tesoro kept its momentum flowing as they got the lead up to double digits thanks to  Brown and Blake Manning hitting back-to-back threes. 

But after that, the Titans offense stalled and Rancho Verde capitalized. 

The Mustangs scored in the transition and defensively were able to force some poor passes. They crept back into the game only trailing 23-19 at the half.

“We just got a bit stagnant and ball watched each other,” Tesoro coach Steve Garrett said. “We just talked about keeping the ball moving, cutting, and creating passing lanes for each other.”

Tesoro’s offense came back out and began to pick back up the pace boosting its lead back up to nine. 

Six-foot-ten center Jacob McFarland switched the momentum back with Rancho Verde after Tesoro’s short run, recording two blocks in the quarter.

McFarland was able to use his big frame to his advantage all game as he had six blocks, but Tesoro didn’t back down to challenge him inside. The Titans kept driving to the lane and dished it outside if they didn’t have an open shot in close. 

Manning and Brown each had a block of their own early in the second half as they kept their lead at 32-25 going into the fourth quarter.

Rancho Verde was on the forefront offensively to begin the fourth quarter thanks to a big three-point play from Anthony Smith Jr. 

Jermaine Washington Jr. also started to heat up for the Mustangs as he would record their next four points to cut down Tesoro’s lead to 33-32. 

Brown’s coolness under pressure began to sink in as he hit a shot to move the lead to 35-32. 

Rancho Verde answered back by scoring three more points to level the game at 35 a piece, but Jake Bennett forced a block and sent Tesoro on the transition. 

Brown was fouled and calmly hit both free throws to give Tesoro the lead again.

On the other end Bennett picked up another block and Tesoro held all the momentum. 

“I was just trying to keep them out of the paint and box them out,” Bennett said. “I tried to take away the second chance points by rebounding the heck out of the ball.”

As the shot clock was winding down, Brown quickly moved to the right of the key and pulled up with a defender in his face to give Tesoro a 40-35 lead in what would be the game winning shot.

Rancho Verde had the chance to tie the game on a 3-pointer with but Brown came up out of the screen and tipped the shot as it missed the hoop to close out the game.

Tesoro will now have a new challenge when it travels to Culver City to take on the Centaurs at 7 p.m.

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