SACRAMENTO -- Brandon Randolph, like many basketball players, has imagined the scenario countless times: clock winding down, ball in his hands, everything in slow motion, crowd goes wild.
It nearly came to fruition Friday afternoon, but the St. Bernard sophomore guard simply ran out of time, as the Vikings fell to St. Joseph Notre Dame, 47-44, in the CIF State Boys Division V championship at Power Balance Pavilion. Randolph had 1.7 seconds to release a potential tying shot, but the buzzer sounded before he let the ball go. His attempt missed by inches, off the front of the rim.
"I think it would have counted if I had made it," Randolph said. "It felt good off my hands. Like a regular shot."
Randolph had only four points in the second half but still finished with a team-high 14. Thurman Thomas, whose heroics in last week's Southern California Regionals got the Vikings (26-9) to Sacramento, finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jacari Whitfield led St. Joseph with 15 points, all coming from beyond the arc.
St. Bernard was 3 for 16 from three-point range and managed only 16 points in the second half. Still, neither team led by more than five.
"I understand we're in the arena setting," St. Bernard coach Reggie Morris said, "but 44 points is probably not going to get it done."
Whitfield sank a deep three with 58 seconds left to break a tie and give the Pilots (27-8) a 45-42 lead. St. Bernard trailed by three when Whitfield missed the first of a one-and-one, setting up Randolph's dream-like situation.
"We've got to come back," Randolph said, "work hard and try to get it again next year."
Said Morris: "We definitely will be one of the bigger programs in Southern California, not just on the Division V level but period. We want to stand up and be a powerhouse along those big-name schools."