Parker Rawlings is no stranger to buzzer beaters after hitting one in the summer leagues for Olympus this year, but that shot paled in comparison to his heroics against No. 2 Bountiful on Friday night.
Rawlings wasn't the first choice to take the last second shot after Oly called a timeout with 11 seconds remaining in the tie game, but when the Braves' defense smothered the first few options the Titans had to improvise quickly.
The 6-foot-7 Rawlings was in perfect position to catch a skip pass from teammate Nick Barney and then drilled the angle-left 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Olympus to the 60-57 victory over the visiting Braves.
"Everything is surreal right now, I've never hit one in a stage like this. It's big," said Rawlings.
The 3-pointer was Rawlings first of the night, but one of three 3s in the final two minutes for the Titans.
"We got lucky at the end. We try and run a play and they take it away and Nick doesn't panic and skips it to Parker and Parker hits that shot," said Olympus coach Matt Barnes.
For Olympus (4-4), the win was its third in the past four games, a stretch in which Barnes has been very pleased with how his inexperienced team has progressed.
It took them a while to get going on Friday though. Both teams seemed to lumber around with some extra holiday break baggage throughout a sluggish first half. With Olympus clinging to the 22-20 lead, the tempo and excitement really picked up in the second half.
After the teams traded baskets early in the third quarter, Olympus closed with a 12-4 run to take a 41-35 lead. It extended the cushion to 43-35 on the first possession of the fourth quarter, but that's when Bountiful came storming back.
In fact, as well as the Braves (6-2) played in the fourth quarter, it's hard to figure how they didn't win after making 8 of 9 shots and scoring on 9 of 10 possessions in the quarter.
Titan senior forward Jackson Coleman was a big reason why.
With Bountiful leading 52-49, Coleman tipped in an offensive rebound to trim the lead to 52-51. After Bountiful extended the lead back to three with 2:20 left, Coleman hit back-to-back 3-pointers to push Olympus in front 57-54 with 1:21 remaining.
"Those were huge. I pulled him out in the third quarter cause he was just standing around watching, and I said, 'do you want sit by me and watch or do you want to get out there and play,'" said Barnes. "I guess he wanted to play. Those were big shots."2 comments on this story
Bountiful's Brit Harding responded with a 3-pointer of his own tying the game at 57-57 with 1:07 left. After corralling an offensive rebound following an ill-advised 3-point attempt early in the ensuing possession, the Titans worked the clock and played for the last shot.
The last second jumper certainly wasn't what the Titans drew up in the time-out, but no one was complaining.
Barney led Olympus with 14 points, while Will Cannon added 12 and Coleman chipped in with 11 on three 3-pointers.
Sam Merrill had a great game in the loss for Bountiful scoring nine of his game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter.