Brandon Tiffany has waited patiently through three years of losing for the chance to play for a winner.
And the Tech senior guard is doing everything in his power to help the Roadrunners make that dream a reality.
Tiffany hit four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and finished with 22 points to rally Tech to a 51-46 win Saturday over Shadow Ridge in the quarterfinals of the fifth annual Vegas Invitational at Mountain View.
“The reputation we used to have is, when they play us, they’d mark the win on their calendar,” said Tiffany, who also had five assists. “Now, they actually have to prepare for our game.”
Coming off a 5-21 season, Tech is 3-2, has won three straight games and has beaten two Class 4A schools. The Roadrunners’ 57-56 win over Del Sol on Dec. 16 was their first Southeast League victory in five years.
“We’re always going to have the stereotype of, ‘It’s just Tech,’ but we’re doing our best to change that stereotype,” Roadrunners coach Ward Griffith said. “I think we are going to surprise some teams this year.
“These guys have learned that they’re not going to accept losing.”
Michael Johnson added 13 points and seven rebounds for Tech, which outscored Shadow Ridge 26-5 in the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs (1-5) had only seven active players, but Shadow Ridge coach Charles Henderson said depth was not a factor. Instead, he pointed to an inability to handle Tech’s intensified full-court press in the fourth quarter.
“We beat ourselves down the stretch,” Henderson said. “I don’t feel we were undermanned by any means. We didn’t handle the pressure well.”
Zach Hafen, who had 21 points, was the lone double-figure scorer for the Mustangs, who let a 41-25 lead entering the fourth slip away.
“I was talking to coaches on the team before (the game) about how Tech teams in the past being down (16) going into the fourth quarter, it would be difficult,” Griffith said. “We would probably shut it down and wouldn’t be able to come back.”
But that’s exactly what the Roadrunners were able to do, winning the only matchup of 4A schools so far at the 16-team tournament.
“I just want to show the city that we can actually do something,” Tiffany said. “We’ve come close; we’ve just never been able to finish games. But this year, we’re finally starting to finish games.”
Tech won the consolation title at last year’s tourney — a result that left the Roadrunners unsatisfied.
“We all said to ourselves, ‘We should have won the championship,’” Griffith said. “We’re not going to settle for anything less this time around.”
In the other quarterfinal:
Brethren Christian (Calif.) 75, Needles 74 (OT) — Austin Loeb scored in the paint as time expired to give the Warriors a dramatic overtime win over the Mustangs.
Brethren Christian rallied out of a 72-68 hole in the final 1:30 of overtime.
Stevie Kidd paced Needles with 25 points and six assists. Darra Russell had 20 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists for the Mustangs, who also got 11 points from Anthony Ramos.
In the consolation bracket:
Calvary Chapel 70, Beatty 41 — Juliene Mejia led three Lions scorers in double figures with 16 points in an easy win over the Hornets.
Dario Rahming had 14 points and Brandon Corbitt 10 for Calvary Chapel, which jumped to a 24-14 lead entering the second quarter.
Joe Serrano scored 20 points and Jacob Sumpter 10 for Beatty.
Pahrump Valley 57, Trinity 52 — The Trojans used a 20-for-25 clip at the foul line to rally past the Thunder.
Pahrump Valley outscored Trinity 26-11 in the fourth quarter after being outscored 17-6 in the third.
Marvin Weekly had 20 points and Chase Williams 10 for Pahrump Valley.
Budweiser Hawkins scored 27 points and Avery Harden 16 for Trinity.
River Valley (Ariz.) 56, Agassi Prep 55 — Zack Hendrix scored under the basket as time expired to lift the Dust Devils to the win in double overtime.
That came after River Valley’s Andrew Smith scored in the lane as time expired in the first overtime.
Aerontay Shepherd had 23 points and two steals to lead Agassi Prep, which had only eight players active.
Quincy Brown had 18 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for the Stars, who also got 10 points and 14 rebounds from Dimitri Amos.
Mountain View 68, Spring Mountain 44 — Raymond Velarde hit three 3-pointers and totaled 13 points in the first quarter on the way to the Saints’ blowout win.
Velarde finished with 21 points. Justyn Anderson had 19 points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals for Mountain View, which got 10 points from Nathan Swingle and nine rebounds from Karl Benjamin.
Terence Green scored 13 points and Davonte Sandifer 11 for Spring Mountain.