AURORA | Danny Fisher wanted the ball in Daijon Smith’s hands in the closing seconds of Wednesday night’s Centennial League boys basketball clash.
The Overland coach didn’t like the initial set-up, however, so he used a time out to set up a play for his senior guard with 4.3 seconds remaining and the Trailblazers down two points to Grandview.
Smith made the most of the final play, quickly changing course from a drive to the basket to a step-back 3-pointer from the corner that found nothing but net to give Overland a wild 52-51 victory. Smith’s final hoop gave him 11 points to join Goy Wang (16) and Tucson Redding (11) in double figures for the victorious Trailblazers.
“I was trying to get to the basket at first, but my momentum was going downhill and he (the defender) overplayed it, so I just stepped back and hit the shot,” Smith said. “It was a big-time shot.”
Just prior to the winning shot, Smith came away with the ball after the Wolves’ Davon Walker missed a free throw on the other end of the floor and headed upcourt for a possible tying or go-ahead shot.
Fisher saw the way Grandview defenders were closing off Smith’s path and chose to call a time out to set up a better opportunity.
“It’s just a feel,” Fisher said. “At the last minute, I just got the feeling to call a time out. Daijon had the ball and ultimately we wanted to have the ball in his hands, but the floor was really unbalanced in that situation.
“I let it go for a bit, but I saw the unbalanced floor and we had 4.5 seconds, so I knew we could get it to somebody for an open shot.”
The final play had options for the ball to go to Smith or Redding, but it ended up going to Smith, who duplicated the exact same thing he had practiced in shooting drills at Overland the previous day for the game-winner.
“He’s going to hit that shot a lot, especially in big moments,” said Fisher, also referencing a deep 3-pointer Smith hit which helped the Trailblazers come back to beat Smoky Hill previously.
Smith felt especially good about the winning shot as it put a positive end to a game that had been a struggle for him for much of the night. He got it going in the second half with nine of his 11 points to help the Trailblazers continue to trade jabs with the Wolves in a back-and-forth game.
Ten seconds before his final shot, Smith missed a game-tying free throw and was glad he had a chance to atone.
“That kind of killed me because they started chanting ‘Overrated,'” Smith said of the missed free throw. “I felt like I had to do something different. I came back in and hit a big shot. I feel like that’s not overrated, that’s a good thing.”
Wang kept Overland (7-7 overall, 5-0 in the Centennial League) in the contest in the first half with 11 of 16 points, as he helped the Trailblazers hang on the interior with Grandview (11-3, 3-2).
The lead changed hands seven times in the second quarter and the Wolves owned a one-point edge after junior Tyler Unger banked in a 3-pointer with a few seconds left in the half.
Overland went up seven late in the third quarter after senior Laolu Oke threw down an alley-oop dunk on a feed from junior Stephen Hayes, but senior Ben Boone (team-high 12 points) got Grandview even with a late 3-pointer and junior Dayne Prim (who scored six of his eight points in the fourth quarter) put Grandview in the lead with an inside hoop with 35 seconds left.
Prim also rebounded the free throw miss from Smith and the Trailblazers fouled Walker, who went 1-for-2 from the line to set up the wild final sequence.
“We had our chances to put it away and we didn’t,” Rogers said. “We don’t make a free throw, we don’t play defense the right way on the last possession and that’s what happens. We go undisciplined for a second against another good team and things like that happen.”
In the unrelenting Centennial League, both teams know they have to have a short memory and move on to the next one.
For Overland, that’s a home game against upstart Mullen at 7 p.m. Friday, while Grandview has a 3 p.m. home contest against Cherry Creek on Saturday.
“We’re as good as we can be right now,” Fisher said. “I hope they enjoy tonight, but tomorrow we’ve got to practice and get ready for Mullen. It’s better than being 0-5 and it’s better than 1-7, we’re finally .500.”
Grandview pays a visit to Overland at 3 p.m. Feb. 10.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
OVERLAND 52, GRANDVIEW 51
Score by quarters:
Overland 11 16 14 11 — 52
Grandview 9 19 10 13 — 51
Daijon Smith 3 4-6 11, Tucson Redding 5 3-3 14, Stephen Hayes 1 0-0 2, Goy Wang 6 3-4 16, Laolu Oke 2 0-0 4, Hezekiah Swanson 1 0-0 3, Jalone Rice 1 0-0 3, Alex Pena-Avila 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 10-13 52.
Caleb McGill 2 2-2 6, Gunner Gentry 1 3-4 5, Ben Boone 4 2-2 12, Davon Walker 3 1-2 8, Dayne Prim 4 0-0 8, Levi Dombro 3 0-0 6, Lian Ramiro 1 0-0 3. Totals 18 8-10 51.
3-point field goals — Overland (4): Jalone Rice, Daijon Smith, Hezekiah Swanson, Goy Wang; Grandview (5): Ben Boone 2, Lian Ramiro, Tyler Unger, Davon Walker. Total fouls — Overland 12, Grandview 14. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.