The Rancho boys basketball team entered its opener Thursday in need of a confidence boost coming off a three-win season.
Thanks to Lamont Traylor, that’s exactly what the Rams received.
Traylor snagged Montef Hargrove’s airball and scored with 2.4 seconds left, capping a big second-half comeback and lifting Rancho to a 57-56 victory over Desert Oasis in the opening game of pool play at the Legacy Tip-Off Classic.
“We’ve been working since May trying to get them to believe because the last few years have been rough,” first-year Rancho coach Ronald Childress said. “They needed something like this, because a loss would have put them right back where they’ve been in the past. We’ve just got to keep building from here.”
Hargrove scored a game-high 18 points, including 14 in the third quarter, to help the Rams (1-0) rally from a 13-point deficit. Traylor added 14 points, and teammate David McKeever finished with 12.
Rancho takes on Churchill County at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Legacy as pool play continues in the 12-team portion of the tournament. Desert Oasis (1-1) meets Tamanawis of Surrey, British Columbia, at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Mojave.
The Diamondbacks led 56-55 with 22.3 seconds left when Rodrick Moore missed the front end of a one-and-one. After a scramble on the rebound, Desert Oasis was awarded possession, but Aamondae Coleman couldn’t convert off the inbounds play. The Rams grabbed the rebound, setting up a frantic final few seconds.
Rancho, which burned its final timeout with 2:27 to play, was able to get the ball to Hargrove for a 3-point attempt. His contested shot came up way short, but Traylor followed the miss to give the Rams their only lead of the game.
“He has a nose for the boards,” Childress said.
Jay Esguerra and Deric Hammock led the Diamondbacks with 14 points apiece, and Moore added 11. Desert Oasis led 37-24 after Moore scored with 5:07, but that’s when Hargrove heated up, scoring the Rams’ final 10 points of the quarter to cut Desert Oasis lead to 47-41 after the third.
“He’s the best shooter on the team,” Childress said. “He’s still learning, but two good years and he’s college bound.”
The Diamondbacks dominated early, opening the game on a 10-2 run and leading by as many as 10 points in the first quarter.
Rancho closed to within 21-17 early in the second quarter, but the Diamondbacks closed the half on an 8-0 run that included 3-pointers from Moore and Esguerra to take a 29-17 lead at the break.
“It’s a world of relief off us just to get that first season win,” Childress said. “We’re just looking for any win to get us moving in the right direction after the past. We’re just trying to get them to believe in themselves, work hard in practice every day and go from there.”
Select No. 2 (Australia) 59, Faith Lutheran 55 — At Legacy, Clayton Holthaus scored 12 points, but the Crusaders dropped their opening game in pool play.
Sean Kay had nine points, and Conner Vang chipped in with eight points for Faith Lutheran (0-2), which missed a late 3-pointer that would have tied the game at 58.
Lachlan Anthony led the Australian Select team with 26 points, including five 3-pointers.
Arbor View 76, Lowry 56 — At Legacy, Terrell Butler had 23 points, and the Aggies outscored the Buckaroos 42-24 in the second half to post the win.
Justin Burks added 21 points, and Charles Porter scored 14 for Arbor View, which led 34-32 at the half.
Josh Watterson led Lowry with 15 points.
Mojave 75, Thurgood Marshall (Calif.) 55 — At Mojave, Kemario Williams and Lorenzo Guerrero each had 13 points as the Rattlers rolled.
Jordan Glenn had 11 points, and Darryl Adams and Malik Abbott each scored 10 for Mojave.
Jason Smith and Mizell Parker each scored 23 points for Thurgood Marshall.
Sierra Vista 75, Churchill County 38 — At Mojave, Mikko Balmes and Apollo Corley each had 14 points as the Mountain Lions beat the Greenwave.
Christian Tirol added 10 points for Sierra Vista.
Legacy 64, North Tahoe 22 — At Legacy, Deshaun Hilliard scored 16 points, and the Longhorns (1-1) overwhelmed the Lakers in the opening round of the Financial Bracket.
Ty-Rell Melton added 11 points, and Jacob Rainey finished with 10 points for Legacy, which led 41-12 at halftime.
Kolya Kelly led North Tahoe with eight points.
Clovis East (Calif.) 64, Virgin Valley 44 — At Mojave, The Timberwolves took a 21-10 lead after one quarter and rolled past the Bulldogs in the Financial Bracket.
Garrett Leavitt had 12 points and Dee Bowler 11 for Virgin Valley. DeVonte Milligan added eight points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Wasatch (Utah) 90, Cimarron-Memorial 39 — At Legacy, Wasatch took a 67-24 lead at the half and rolled to the win in the Financial Bracket.
Coby McEwen led five Wasatch players in double figures with 23 points.
Tony Harrison scored 11 to lead Cimarron, which got 10 points from Amani Gill.