OREM — In an instant, Brayden Harris went from being the goat to being the unlikely catalyst for American Fork in its thrilling 65-63 win over Overland (Colo.) Friday afternoon in the second round of the Great Western Shootout.
With four seconds left in the game, American Fork's Brendan Bailey hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 63-63. Unaware of the situation, Harris intentionally fouled Overland's Austin Conway — sending him to the line to potentially lift his school to victory.
However, Conway missed the front end of the one-and-one opportunity, and American Fork's Tyler Rawson ripped down the rebound. With no time to spare, Rawson threw the ball to Bailey at half court. His ensuing shot crashed off the glass, but was followed up and in by a hustling Ryan Andrus at the buzzer to give the Cavemen an improbable victory.
The American Fork faithful rushed the court at the conclusion to celebrate with the players.
"This game was huge," Andrus said. "To get a win against a good out-of-state team, it boosts your confidence. ... It felt like a state tournament game."
Andrus contributed 12 points and 13 rebounds and held his own in a tough matchup against super sophomore De'Ron Davis, who finished with just 12 points and six rebounds for Overland.
Rawson led all scorers with 18 points, while Bailey contributed 12 for the Cavemen.
As for Harris and his potentially devastating error at the end?
"Hindsight is great and I told him to tell everybody that Coach Meacham told you to foul," quipped American Fork coach Doug Meacham following the game. "It's just preseason and he'll learn, but I liked the fact he's trying to make a play and that's basketball."
The win was a nice bounce-back for an American Fork team that blew a lead late against Denver East on Thursday.
"These guys really believe we have a chance to be good and we just have to fix some little things. ... I was very happy with how they responded today," Meacham said.
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