Paradise Valley nearly upset No. 2-seed Glendale Raymond Kellis in the Division II boys basketball state tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday night, but fell, 52-51, in overtime when the Trojans' final possession was thrown out of bounds in the final seconds.
"There's really nothing you can say after a loss like that," said Paradise Valley coach Mark MacGowan, trying to gather himself after the heartbreak.
Paradise Valley defeated No. 10 Nogales on Saturday to get here, and the No. 7-seed Trojans held a 51-50 lead with less than a minute left in the extra session after forward Anthony Walker made 1-of-2 free throws off on one of his many strong offensive rebounds. After a miss was converted into a transition opportunity for Raymond Kellis, Trojans' guard Brandon Williams took a charge.
But Paradise Valley struggled shooting from the field and free-throw line, and could not expand the lead down the stretch.
After fouling the Cougars on an inside drive, the Trojans appeared to get bailed out by a pair of missed free throws. Instead, 6-foot-9 center Kenny Martin rebounded the miss and was fouled in the process.
Martin, who finished with 20 points and nearly as many rebounds, made both free throws to put Kellis up one.
The Trojans had the ball and a chance to win the game with 20 seconds left. Instead of attacking quickly, however, Paradise Valley took its time in attempting a look at the basket. The Trojans tried to find Walker on the elbow against a zone defense, but the pass sailed over his head out of bounds.
"They were keying on Paul (Watson)," MacGowan said. "We had the execution but the pass didn't get to where it needed to be."
The Trojans struggled mightily on offense, missing nine of ten 3-pointers in the second half and missing numerous chances near the basket. Many of their points came at the line, though the Trojans struggled there, too.
Watson, who was hounded all game physically by Kellis' Bikonzi Moise, scored 18 point, 10 of which came in the first half. Trojans guard Daniel Lopez added nine points.
Trojans forward Ryan Finely made the only 3-pointer of the second half with 40 seconds left that tied the game and eventually forced overtime.