Faith Lutheran boys basketball coach Bret Walter called it “one of the best comebacks” in his 12 years at the helm.
But even after erasing a 23-point deficit to take a brief fourth-quarter lead, the Crusaders were dealt a 62-57 overtime loss by visiting Lake Mead on Tuesday night.
The Eagles, the defending Class 1A state champion, outscored four-time defending 3A winner Faith Lutheran 7-4 to end regulation and 10-5 in overtime.
“I told the kids, ‘I love your resiliency,’ ” said Lake Mead coach Jeff Newton, whose team threw away a 28-5 second-quarter lead. “You can’t simulate a situation like that in practice. And at the end of the game, we executed a little bit better and walked off with a win.”
Landon Littlefield’s 3-pointer from the wing and De’Quan Thompson’s jump shot from the top gave the Eagles (8-5) the first five points of overtime.
A free throw by Lake Mead’s Jeffrey Newton with 4.2 seconds left in regulation forced overtime.
“We’ve been in these situations before,” Jeffrey Newton said. “We kept our composure.”
Lake Mead returns four starters from last season’s 32-1 team that won the first state title in program history.
“We and Faith stack up well,” said coach Newton, whose team won at Faith Lutheran for a second straight year. “We like to think we’re the best small, private school in the valley. I know Faith thinks the same (about itself).”
Thompson scored 18 points, Littlefield 16 and Newton 14 for the Eagles.
Faith Lutheran used a 43-17 run spanning three quarters to take a 48-45 lead in the final three minutes.
“We haven’t been behind too many times in this gym, to be honest with you,” Walter said. “But the kids showed some character. They could have folded. We’ve been trying the last month to find an identity, and hopefully we found it.”
Brett Lubbe scored 17 points, Chase Saunders 16 and John Anger 10 for Faith Lutheran (5-13).