A late comeback and a technical foul propelled the Carson Senators to a 60-58 win over Highlands High in the third place game in the 26th annual Capital Classic in boys basketball at Morse Burley Gymnasium on Saturday night.
After a strong opening quarter where the Senators jumped out to a 20-13 lead behind 10 points from senior guard Ryan Henry, Carson began to struggle with Highlands' trapping zone press.
"They went into a 3-2 trapping defense," Carson coach Bruce Barnes said. "They had quickness as a team that you don't see too often. It gave us some trouble, and it is definitely something we need to work on."
By halftime, the Senators were only up 26-22 and losing momentum.
That trend continued in the third quarter, where Highlands, led by 6-9 Yugoslavian sharpshooter Sead Dizdardavic, scorched the Senators for 24 points to take a six-point lead going into the final quarter.
The Senators (7-6) slowly closed the game to within two points until Highlands guard Manuel Martinez hit a big 3-pointer with two minutes left that seemed to close the door on Carson's chances.
But then the Senators answered back, and got a little help from the Highlands bench in the process.
Rory Wunsch hit a long two-pointer to cut the lead to three. After Martinez hit a free throw on the other end, Ricky Correlli drove through Highlands' defense and made a nice pass to Ed Jaquette who made the easy bucket. That made it a two-point game with 26 seconds left.
Carson quickly got the ball back after Highlands was called for charging, but couldn't convert any attempts. With 6.2 seconds left, the ball went out-of-bounds, and was ruled to stay with Carson. Highlands coach Greg Drumheller, who had been kicked out of the previous night's game, must not have agreed with that call, because he was immediately called for a technical foul after arguing with the officials.
"It must have been something bad for him to get 'T'd up in that situation," Barnes said.
Whatever he said, it gave Carson two foul shots, the ball, and the win.
After some discussion, Barnes sent Jaquette, who had not missed from the foul line all day, to the stripe, and he sank both of them.
"We don't have a designated shooter for that situation," Barnes said. "We just played it by ear. Ed reminded me that he was 8-for-8 for the night. He made up for the game against Foothill."
Against Foothill, Jaquette had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but sank just 1-of-2 foul shots and Carson lost in overtime.
With the game tied and six seconds left to play, Carson took the ball out and immediately gave the ball to Correlli, who drove to the basket but missed his layup. With two seconds left, Jaquette tapped the ball back in and Carson took its first lead since early in the third quarter.
It couldn't have come at a better time. Highlands' in-bound pass hit the ceiling, and the Senators squeaked out a victory.
Barnes was satisfied with the win. "It's a confidence builder going into league play," he said. "That's the point of this tournament to begin with."
Henry led the Senators with 24 points, and Jaquette supported him with 14, with four of those the game-clinching points. Because of their efforts, both players were named to the all-tournament team. Highlands' leading scorer was Dizdardavic, who scored 20 points and was also named to the all-tournament team.
Manogue 65, Wooster 64 OT
Tournament most valuable player Julian Hatcher did everything he could to give his Wooster Colts the championship victory, but in the end they came up one point short to the Bishop Manogue Miners.
Hatcher hit a running jumper at the buzzer to send the game into overtime and finished the game with 35 points, but Manogue's size and balance was enough to counter-act Hatcher's showing.
Andrew Nehrkorn led the Miners with 18 points, including a basket in overtime, and forward Matt Lucero scored 14 while bringing down many important rebounds. Both Nehrkorn and Lucero made the all-tournament team for their efforts, along with swingman Kenny Viser who was the only other Miner in double figures with 13 points.
But the star of the game was undoubtedly Hatcher, who smashed a tournament record with 102 points over three days. The previous record was 78.
Hatcher hit five three-pointers, including one in the final minute of the fourth quarter to put his team in a position to win. He sank eight of nine free throws, with the only miss coming in overtime. Wooster was also aided by all-tournament point guard Joery Golaw who scored 16 and had many key passes.