RICHFIELD — No one can accuse Kayden Calder of breaking a promise.
After his teammates, Parker Stuart and Cody Groll, fouled out of Rich's quarterfinal game against Monticello, he gave those two seniors his word the Rebels would win.
"I promised them that we'd go out and finish it for them," said Calder, who hit a 3-point shot as time expired in Rich's 59-56 double-overtime victory Thursday night at the Sevier Valley Center.
Calder's game-winning basket was not the play coaches drew up when they called their final timeout with 12 seconds remaining. The plan was for Calder to score a basket off a pick-and-roll.
"We weren't expecting the zone," said Calder, who finished with a game-high 39 points. "We kind of got stuck, and then I picked up my dribble."
He tossed it to his friend Phillip Peart, who "was good enough to give it back to me, and I just knocked it down."
"I looked up at 3.2 seconds, I think," he said of his thoughts just before he took the shot that was five feet behind the arc. "I know I was deep. That's all."
The game started slow, with the Rebels jumping out to a 19-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. But the Buckaroos battled back to within five points at halftime.
Defense ruled the game for both teams, but the Rebels suffered a huge loss when Stuart, their senior center, went to the bench with five fouls at 3:07 in the fourth quarter.
Monticello led by three points with 2.3 seconds left in regulation. Cody Groll hit a 3-point shot with Monticello center Cameron Van Tassell flying toward him to tie the game and send it into the first overtime.
Both teams struggled at the foul line down the stretch, but there was no shortage of heroic plays — both on offense and defense.
As the first overtime expired, it was Monticello that trailed 51-48. With 8.6 seconds left in the overtime, Monticello had the ball. The Buckaroos produced a hero of their own when Kendyl Maughan hit a 3-point shot to tie the game. Those were his only points of the game.
"I was guarding their best 3-point shooter," said Peart, a senior, who cradled the team's box of Lucky Charms cereal in his arms after the game. "Coach told me to stay on him and don't leave him. I didn't even see who made the shot. I heard someone say, 'Shoot it.' And then I'm thinking, 'Oh no, it's not our night.' "
Tied at 51-51, the two teams started their second four-minute overtime in front of a raucous crowd. The Rebels suffered another blow when point guard Cody Groll fouled out at 3:23 of the second overtime.
That's when Calder made his promise.
"And they made sure they didn't let me forget it," he said with a smile.
Rich coach Ashley Brown said the Rebels took each setback and victory in stride, just as they have all season.
"These kids have worked hard," he said. "They've played a tough schedule; they know they have the ability to do it if they play hard and play well."
With two starters on the bench, Brown said the rest of the squad knew what they had to do.
"We knew somebody else had to step in there and fill (their) shoes and they did," said Brown.
Both teams had contributions from just about every man who stepped on the floor. For Monticello, Cory Young scored 12, Devin Wright added 13 and Dallin Duncan earned a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Rich was led by Calder offensively, but Bracken Pinter came off the bench when Stuart fouled out and scored two points and grabbed eight key rebounds. Groll added eight points and three assists, while Brent Wallentine had five assists and six rebounds.
The win means Rich will take on Wasatch Academy in tonight's semifinals. The loss sends Monticello into consolation play, where they will meet Milford.
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