It’s a shame the Cheyenne and Desert Pines boys basketball teams won’t meet again during the regular season.
The Desert Shields eked out a four-point win in the teams’ first clash Jan. 3, and Cheyenne prevailed again Thursday night by an even slimmer margin.
Senior D’Andre Houston made a tying layup, was fouled and sank the free throw with 9.8 seconds remaining to give the visiting Desert Shields a 50-49 victory.
“This is a great character test for us,” Cheyenne coach Teral Fair said. “Being down in a hostile environment and having to play big late in the game and make plays.”
With 25 seconds left, Cheyenne (12-5, 6-0 Class 3A Sunset League) tied the game at 47 with two free throws. Desert Pines inbounded to senior Capri Uzan, who immediately was fouled and hit both free throws to give him a team-high 19 points and the Jaguars (11-10, 4-2) their final lead.
On the ensuing play, Houston drove the lane and converted the decisive three-point play, accounting for half of his point total. On the other end, Houston blocked Desert Pines’ would-be winning shot with 0.9 seconds left.
Houston said he had one thought as he stood at the line to give his team the lead.
“Hope it goes in,” he said. “Really, honestly.”
Junior Kavon Williams led the Desert Shields with 19 points. Senior Dewayne Alexander had 13 points and 12 rebounds, with seven of his points in the fourth quarter. He made 9 of 10 at the free-throw line.
The Desert Shields finished 14 of 17 from the line, and Desert Pines was 11 of 24. Cheyenne also outscored the Jaguars 15-10 in the final quarter.
“Championship teams make plays, and championship players make plays,” Fair said. “Hopefully this prepares us for some other tough games down the road.”