Southwestern needed a strong fourth quarter to secure a first-round victory Tuesday morning at the Bulldog Holiday Classic hosted by Monrovia.
The Spartans got it with a 13-of-15 performance from the free-throw line over the final eight minutes to complete a 60-54 come-from-behind victory over Mitchell.
The Blue Jackets led 32-26 at halftime and 42-38 after three quarters before the Spartans scored 22 fourth-quarter points – 13 from the charity stripe.
Aiden Hartsell was a perfect 4-for-4 in the fourth from the free-throw line and finished with a game-high 24 points.
Jordan Jones was 5-for-5 in the final period when he scored nine of his 20 points.
Matthew Clements and Jonny Joy each had six to push the Spartans into a semifinal round game against Tri-West.
Southwestern went 18 of 22 from the free-throw line in the win.
Kade Wigley connected on a trio of three-pointers and led Mitchell with 17 points. Andrew Shepherd and Nick Mundy each scored 11 in the Blue Jackets’ fourth-straight loss.
Tri-West opened the first day of the tournament Tuesday with a 79-55 win over Monrovia.
Danville defeated Greenwood Christian, 83-61, in game three.
And Tipton closed out the first-round action with a 76-39 win over Milan.
In Southwestern’s semifinal game against Tri-West, the Spartans managed just a pair of 3s in the third quarter which allowed the Bruins to extend a 26-22 halftime lead to 42-28.
The Spartans failed to get enough stops in the fourth quarter and were defeated, 60-46.
Jones hit three 3s to lead Southwestern with 17 points. Clements also made three 3s on the way to 11 points and Hartsell finished with 10.
The Spartans were 3 for 3 from the free-throw line in the loss.
Dylan Bear led Tri-West with 22 points – 15 in the second half. Alex Covey finished with 13 and Ethan Depinet had 10.
Greenwood Christian followed with a 53-34 win over Milan.
And Danville secured a spot in tonight’s championship game with an 80-74 win over Tipton.
Day two games begin at 3 p.m. today with Mitchell (4-6) taking on Milan (0-7) in the seventh-place game.
Greenwood Christian (3-6) faces the host Bulldogs (4-4) in the fifth-place game.
Southwestern (3-5) will tip off at approximately 6 p.m. against Tipton (7-3).
And in the championship game, Tri-West (5-2) will face Danville (8-1).