WALLA WALLA - The DeSales boys basketball team posted leads of 13-10 after the first period and 25-22 at halftime, but couldn't hold on to beat the Liberty Christian Patriots, 48-47, Friday.
The game came down to a deep shot at the buzzer from the top of the key by Irish point guard Sean Williams, but it came up short.
Spencer Cordeiro of DeSales caught the ball underneath the hoop, unguarded, but the final buzzer had already sounded.
Liberty Christian had the ball with 40 seconds remaining and a one-point lead, and called for a timeout.
After the huddle, the Patriots put up a long 3-pointer with the shot clock ticking down. The ball missed and a mad scramble for the ball ensued.
Williams came up with the rebound with about seven seconds remaining. He dribbled up court and passed to Vic Mata, who had a shot with three seconds remaining from just outside the left arc of the 3-point line.
Mata took a couple of dribbles and the defense collapsed on him. He passed back to Williams, who threw up the desperation 3 as time expired.
"We had a timeout remaining," DeSales coach Allyn Griffin said. "But we already had everything we wanted.
"Mata had the ball with enough time to shoot, but for whatever reason, he passed on the shot and gave it back to Sean Williams and he couldn't get off a good shot with almost no time remaining."
Mata and Tommy Gregg led the Irish with 10 points apiece.
Cordeiro added nine, Lucas Fazzari seven points off the bench and Nick Wales had five points to go with a team-high five rebounds.
The downfall of the Irish came from too much of the 6-foot, 5-inch Liberty Christian post, Bryan Corrigan, who had 19 points to go with 16 boards.
"We just gave up way too many second-chance opportunities to them," Griffin said. "Too many for us to overcome."
Corrigan scored buckets on five offensive rebounds, and the other Liberty Christian players combined put back three offensive boards for hoops.
"Corrigan played real well down the stretch for them," Griffin said. "Their whole team actually played real well down the stretch."
DeSales faltered at the free-throw line, making 6-of-14 opportunities from the charity stripe.
Liberty Christian shot just seven attempts from the line, making just three.
The turnover battle and team rebounds were virtually even.
DeSales had only one more turnover, 18-17, than the Patriots.
The Irish were outrebounded 26-24 on the night.
"We played real well," Griffin said. "We got the ball down low to Wales and Cordeiro, who worked real well together.
"Leahy, when he was in there, also did well in the post for us. This is the seventh or eighth game of the entire season that we have lost by just about one point."
DeSales' record is now 0-8 in league on the season.
"Despite the loss," Griffin said, "I'm extremely proud of these guys. They have worked extremely hard. It doesn't reflect in our record and at this level. We are judged by that."
The Irish will be back in action Friday against Asotin.
Liberty Christian 48, DeSales 47
LIBERTY CHRISTIAN (48) - Corrigan 9 0-1 18, Morris 1 0-0 2, Siefken 3 2-4 8, Sitton 4 1-2 9, Olson 1 0-0 3, Koglin 2 0-0 5, Crawford 1 0-0 3. Totals 21 3-7 48.
DESALES (47) - Wales 3 0-0 6, Cordeiro 4 1-2 9, Mata 4 0-2 10, Gregg 3 3-5 10, Leahy 1 1-2 3, Fazzari 3 1-3 7, Williams 1 0-0 2, Elmenhurst 0 0-0 0, Haen 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 6-14 47.
LC 10 12 16 10 - 48
DeS 13 12 10 12 - 47
3-point goals - LC 3 (Crawford, Olson, Koglin), DeS 3 (Mata 2, Gregg). Total Fouls - LC 12, DeS 6. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - LC 26 (Corrigan 16), DeS 24 (Wales 5). Turnovers - DeS 18, LC 17.