A slow-paced, low-scoring game wasn't exactly what Bartlett boys basketball coach Jim Wolfsmith was hoping for -- but he'll certainly take the final result.
The No. 7 Hawks earned a spot in the Class 4A York regional title game after defeating the No. 10 Leyden Eagles 33-29 on Thursday night.
"We didn't want a low-scoring game, but they're a really good defensive team and this was a physical game," Wolfsmith said.
Bartlett (20-9) trailed only twice, both by 1 point, but the Hawks never were able to rest.
Bartlett took a 25-21 lead into the fourth quarter, but Omar Lozoya had a steal and a layup followed by a 3-pointer to open the final period giving Leyden (17-11) a 26-25 advantage.
A Ryan DiCanio layup followed by a bucket from Lance Whitaker off a Marcus Aluquin assist put the Hawks ahead again 29-26.
Lozoya finished with a game-high 15 points, including all 8 of the Eagles' fourth-quarter points, and his third trey of the night tied things up at 29-29 with 3:08 left on the clock.
"My teammates did a good job finding me, and I was just able to knock my shots down," said Lozoya, one of Leyden's eight graduating seniors.
Lozoya added: "I think this was a very successful season. It was more successful than we thought it would be."
A minute after Leyden tied the game, Whitaker grabbed an offensive rebound and put in the go-ahead bucket, and he assisted a Mitch Reid layup with 52 seconds remaining for the final score. Whitaker finished with a team-high 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
"Their matchups on defense caused us some problems, but we stuck with the gameplan," Whitaker said. "My shot wasn't falling from the outside, so I stuck inside in the fourth quarter and was able to make a couple baskets."
Bartlett led 8-7 after one quarter and 18-15 at halftime. Aluquin scored all 8 of his points in the second quarter, including a 3 and a 5-for-5 performance at the line, and one of Jon Moss' two treys gave the Hawks their largest lead of the game at 23-15 early in the third quarter.
Leyden junior Nick Best had 6 points and 6 rebounds, and senior Anthony Gonzalez grabbed 6 rebounds.
The Hawks will face the regional host, No. 2 York, tonight for the title.
"We've got to rebound, and we have to be physical," Wolfsmith said. "They've got a couple good shooters, and we've got to be physical with them."
David Cohn is one of those shooters Wolfsmith pointed out; Whitaker and Cohn are teammates on their AAU team.