The South Bay Lakers played their first-round playoff game against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers as they fell, 124-122, on Wednesday afternoon. Shaq Harrison led the Lakers (21-11, 0-1) in scoring with 27 points. TyTy Washington paced the Vipers (18-14, 1-0), scoring 30 points.
South Bay came out in the first quarter with intensity to match the occasion, competing hard on both ends. The Vipers matched the Laker’s level, leading to a competitive first frame. Shaq Harrison led the Lakers with nine points in the period. Darius Days got off to a hot start, scoring eight points on 3-3 shooting. South Bay led 35-30 after one. The Vipers made a nice 15-5 run to start the second quarter, finding themselves up by five mid-way through the second. The rest of half continued to be very tight. Harrison led the way for both South Bay with 16 points in the half. TyTy Washington put up 18 in the half for the Vipers. The Lakers trailed 65-68 at half.
Rio Grande started out as the aggressor in the third period, jumping out to a nine-point lead. South Bay immediately responded with a 11-0 run of their own to regain a two-point lead of their own. Fabian White Jr. had eight points two rebounds and one block during his shift in the third quarter to help South Bay take the lead. The Lakers found themselves up by as many as nine in the period, and went into the final frame up four, 99-95.
The Vipers opened the fourth quarter on 6-0 run to quickly retake the lead. Down 103-106, South Bay put together a 9-2 run to take the lead, 112-108 with four minutes remaining. L.A. had seemingly done enough, up five with just over a minute remaining. However, Rio Grande Valley closed the game on a 7-0 run, punctuated by a game-winning Jalen Lecque layup with .2 seconds remaining.
Harrison put together a final line of 27 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, three steals and three blocks. Cole Swider contributed 21 points and four assists, while White Jr. scored 14 points and grabbed 11 boards. Washington scored 30 points and dished eight dimes. Jarret Culver contributed 15 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.