Scottsdale Desert Mountain took advantage of missed free throws and some timely steals to roar from behind in the final minute to win the Jackrabbit Invitational basketball tournament, 61-60, over Tempe Corona del Sol on Wednesday at Mesa High.
The Aztecs (2-1) led 53-41 with three minutes to play but after htting 12-of-14 free throws earlier in the fourth quarter, they missed seven in a row in the last 86 seconds.
The Wolves (3-0) took advantage. Jason Kramer hit a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left to pull within three, 60-57. Kelly Bardet stole the inbounds pass and flipped to Kurt Wise, who hit a hook shot in the paint. Wise then stole the ball at midcourt and hit Bardet, who laid the ball in for the game-winner.
“You can never give up,” Bardet said. “That was the most fun game in my varsity career. We got lucky when they missed some free throws.”
“This is a big win for us,” Desert Mountain coach Todd Fazio said. “The teams we beat in these last two games, Corona and Mountain Pointe, those are the teams we want to pattern ourselves after.”
Corona had a chance to win when the Wolves missed a pair of free throws with six seconds remaining. Phil Feinberg raced up the court but missed a running jumper in the lane.
The Aztecs had jumped out to a big lead in the second quarter. Nick Timpone scored and then stole the ball to set up a 3-pointer by Brad Carroll. Mike McCoy followed with a jumper and a 3 for 10-0 run and a 21-10 lead.