The moment seemed like an eternity.Bouncing pinball-like, Terrin Elam’s put-back in the final seconds took several agonizing bounces before falling through the cylinder. Elam’s basket came with 4.2 seconds remaining and lifted McClintock to a 73-71 win over Phoenix Sunnyslope to win the boys basketball 4A-I state title at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale.
The moment seemed like an eternity.
Bouncing similar to a ball cascaded through a pinball machine, Terrin Elam’s put-back in the final seconds took several agonizing bounces before falling through the cylinder. Elam’s basket came with 4.2 seconds remaining and lifted McClintock to a 73-71 win over Phoenix Sunnyslope to win the boys basketball 4A-I state title at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale.
In the process, the Chargers gained their first boys basketball championship since 1984-85.
Elam’s bucket came at the most opportune time for the Chargers. McClintock lost a seven-point lead in the final 55 seconds and sat on the precipice of defeat. With the Vikings’ Royce Woolridge hitting a field goal and then a 3-pointer and Kurt’s Foreman scoring on a put-back, Sunnyslope deadlocked matters with 33 ticks remaining.
That set the stage for Elam’s heroics.
“I was praying for that to go in,” he said afterwards. “It seemed like the longest time. This for the state championship, and coach (Jase Colburn) said leave nothing on the floor.”
Last month, the Chargers defeated Sunnyslope by 18 points in the Martin Luther King Classic. They took a few lessons from that into Saturday state title game. With a plethora of offensive weapons, Colburn said his game plan centered around taking advantage of matchups.
That clearly worked to the Chargers advantage with 6-foot-5 Cameron Fotre matched up against the Vikings’ Jesse Milleson, who offered little resistance.
Forte took the opportunity and capitalized. He started strong and picked up 28 points alone in the first half to along with his eight rebounds. That was enough to carry McClintock to a 37-33 lead at intermission.
“We really do not have a go-to guy,” said Forte, who finished with a game high of 38 points. “Plus, we don’t really have a game plan. We have four other guys who can carry us. (Saturday), I just took it and went.”
At commencement of the second half, that fragile four-point McClintock lead vanished in a hurry. Woolridge picked up a quick two buckets at the start of the third quarter and the score was tied at 37. Ties were then created at 39, 41, 44 and 46 before Forte hit a bucket that was followed by a deuce from Derek Owens for 50-46 McClintock lead with 1:39 left in the third.
That lead was subsequently lost to an 8-0 Sunnyslope run, but Owens’ trey at the buzzer cut the Vikings’ lead to 54-53 after three quarters.
Early in the final session, the Chargers were down by one at 58-57 when they took the lead for good. Elam picked up six of McClintock’s next eight points en route to a 65-58 lead with 2:28 remaining.
Eventually, Sunnyslope went on that 7-0 run to create a 71-71 deadlock before Elam’s tantalizing roll dropped through the twine.
“The championship is so huge for this team,” Colburn said. “Many of these kids have issues at home and confront many challenges. This is something very positive. From now on and forever in their lives, they are champions, and it‘s something that will stay with them forever.”
For the game, Forte’s 38 points led all scores, while Owens added 19. For the Vikings, Woolridge picked up a team-high 34 points, followed by Jake Tramautolo’s 15. All of Tramutolo’s points came on five 3-pointers.