So long as Downey High kept Jesse Singer out of his rhythm, the Knights were doing just fine.
When the Johansen guard began to find his range in the second half, however, he turned a potential rout into a tight game.
"(Johansen) was playing a lot quicker in the second half, and it got them back in the game," said Downey's Joe Napoleon. "When it came down to the end, we just had to make our free throws."
After Singer had helped mount a late rally, Napoleon hit two free throws with 26 seconds left Thursday to seal Downey's 49-45 Modesto Metro Conference win.
"When I go to the line, I'm just thinking that big players make big shots," said Napoleon, whose free throws put Downey up 47-43.
Downey's Joe Hardee drew a charge from Deven Cannon on Johansen's next possession and hit a free throw to make it 48-43.
Malachi Batt's two free throws got Johansen to within 48-45, before Downey's Nick O'Brien (12 points) made a free throw with 12 seconds left for the final score.
It was the sixth win in a row for the Knights (11-4, 3-0 MMC), who led 24-11 after holding Singer to two points in the first half. Singer, who scored 29 points in last week's upset of Davis, was 1-for-7 in the first half.
The 6-foot senior hit three of his four shots in the second half and also made three of four free throws to spark the comeback.
Johansen (7-8, 2-1) had nearly as many turnovers as points in the first half -- 10 turnovers, 11 points.
The Vikings had 20 turnovers in all, and shot 28 percent (15 of 54) from the floor -- yet were a possession from winning.
When Napoleon opened the second half with two quick buckets and hit Brett Butler (11 points) for another basket, it looked as if the Knights were on their way.
Downey stopped making shots, however, a lapse that coincided with the second-half resurgence led by Singer and Adam Rodriguez (11 points, 10 rebounds).