3A boys basketball: Snow Canyon Warriors turn back Ben Lomond in overtime thriller
"That's something that we've had all year long," he said. "We're usually anywhere from 10 to 12 more rebounds than the other team, and offensively we do a good job on that end, too, and trying to keep them off (the boards) is a big deal. We're fortunate that actually we got two right there at the end that spit back out, and we were lucky to get ’em."
For Ben Lomond (14-10), senior point guard Sterling Brandley scored a game-high 22 points and handed out six assists, while senior forward Josh Hardin had 16 points and five assists. Andy Atencio bounced in off the bench and added 11 points for B.L., and senior center Sage Eastburn contributed 10 points and nine rebounds for the Scots.
"He's our pit bull," B.L. coach Ryan Wilcox said of Atencio, a spunky senior forward. "He comes in and he's fiery and he's got a tough attitude. He's our guard dog; he doesn't take crap from anybody.
"Both of our big guys had a heck of a task to guard the big kid (Gottfredson) — they're 6-2, 6-3 guarding 6-7, 6-8. That's a tough thing to ask a kid to do, but they battled with them.
"We might not be taller than others," Wilcox said, "but I think our hearts are a little bit bigger sometimes."
Region 11 runner-up Ben Lomond, which had won 10 of its previous 11 games, fell behind 9-0 in the game's first three minutes, battled back within a bucket, and then fell behind by 15 points, 30-15, early in the second quarter.
But the Fighting Scots refused to fold, as they pulled within 41-36 at halftime and surged ahead, 51-48, when Brandley and Hardin combined for 10 points in the third period. The Scots held a five-point lead, 63-58, following two free throws by Eastburn with 1:38 remaining in regulation, but Gines hit a leaner in the lane, Gottfredson got loose inside and then Gottfredson scored again on a putback to tie it at 64-all with 12.8 seconds left in regulation.
Gines' driving basket at the buzzer was waved off by a charging call, sending the game into overtime.
Ben Lomond, which missed two free throws in the final 1:05 of regulation and missed two more in OT, wound up 21-of-32 overall from the foul line, and those misses came back to haunt the Scots.
After staging such a valiant comeback from a disheartening 15-point deficit, the overtime defeat was a mighty tough pill to swallow.
"Our kids are tough and gritty and have a never-say-die attitude, and they showed that today and got back in it and got ahead," Wilcox said. "And then (Snow Canyon) got some bounces that bounced to them rather than to us, and I think that was most of the difference.
"Their big guy (Gottfredson) is outstanding; he's a strong kid, he jumps really well, he's really mobile and really active, and he's as good a big guy as there is in the state, at least for 3A. They shot 28 3-pointers, and when they shoot that many outside shots, there's a lot of long rebounds and it's kind of a 50-50 ball a lot of the time.
"I couldn't be prouder than I am," Wilcox said, fighting to keep his composure. "It doesn't make it easy to lose like this, but I am proud of them. They didn't fold when the deck was stacked against them. We talked and we said we're not gonna fold, we're not gonna fold and we're gonna give it everything we've got. Those kids in that locker room they left everything they had on the floor.
"I just told them I love ’em and told them I care about ’em. A couple of balls didn't bounce our way; that last 3 they hit was off of an offensive rebound, which was kind of fitting because they had a lot of them. We come up with that ball, they're probably gonna foul us and we're gonna go down and hopefully hit a couple free throws."
And, after coming oh-so-close to winning, Wilcox would love to have another shot at the Warriors.
"I'd pay ’em a thousand dollars to play ’em again right now," he laughed.
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