On three occasions this season, Desert Oasis was either ahead or tied in the fourth quarter and lost.
Clutch free-throw shooting prevented that from happening a fourth time, as the host Diamondbacks defeated Shadow Ridge 82-75 on Wednesday in the championship game of the Tri-State Holiday Invitational.
All-tournament selection Drevin Cannon led five Diamondbacks in double figures with 20 points, while tournament Most Valuable Player Aamondae Coleman had 16 points and 15 rebounds.
“At the beginning of the season, we were very out of sync, but we developed our chemistry as time went on. We’ve learned to play as a team,” Cannon said. “Today we definitely wanted to come out and be aggressive, play intensive on the defensive end and get to the basket. We knew if we stayed poised on the defensive end, it would lead us on offense. That’s all chemistry.”
The Diamondbacks hit 33 of 35 free throws, including 13 of 14 in the fourth quarter, to hold off a late rally by Shadow Ridge.
Trailing by 10 with about two minutes left, the Mustangs went on a 7-0 run by taking advantage of two Desert Oasis miscues. Freshman Nick Blake hit 3 of 4 free-throw attempts after a lane violation was called on Desert Oasis’ Leslie Long. And on the next possession, Jerell Springer snuck behind Taiga Miyano, stole the ball and drove the length of the court for a slam dunk, cutting the lead to 76-73 with 48 seconds left.
But Desert Oasis hit six consecutive free throws to get the victory.
“We executed our game plan, but Shadow Ridge being a great team made some adjustments, and the next thing you know we have a ballgame,” Desert Oasis coach Ryan Fretz said. “But the boys did a great job. We called a couple timeouts, managed it down the stretch, took care of the ball, stepped up and hit free throws down the stretch.”
Desert Oasis made 22 of 48 (45.8 percent) from the field and outrebounded Shadow Ridge 36-23. Though they also were stellar from the free-throw line, hitting 30 of 35, the Mustangs shot 29.4 percent (20 of 68) from the floor.
“They do all the little things well,” Shadow Ridge Ray Miller said of the Diamondbacks. “Sometimes those little things, we don’t do as well, and it hurt us. I just thought they played so solid.”
Three quick fouls by Desert Oasis in less than two minutes allowed the Mustangs to go on a 9-2 run and cut the lead to 35-30 with about two minutes left in the first half. But the Diamondbacks closed the half on an 8-2 run and led 43-32 at halftime.
Desert Oasis, which hit 12 of 22 from the field in the first two quarters, got a big first half from Cannon, who scored 14. Coleman had six points, nine rebounds and one block in the first half.
Springer, named to the all-tournament team, led all scorers with 25 points. Blake, who also made the all-tournament team, scored 13.
Cibola (Ariz.) 51 Silverado 47 — Christian Herrera’s eight-foot jumper with 2:08 left in the game broke a 47-all tie, and Devonte Evans preserved the lead when he blocked Matt Arnold’s hook shot under the basket with 35 seconds left in the third-place game.
Michael Gazda sealed the win with two late free throws. Evans led the Raiders with 14 points.
Devin Ross paced Silverado with 14 points, and Tyric Johnson, Jacob Mautner and Jordan Waugh each had eight points.
Mountain View (Utah) 49, Sunrise Mountain 43 — The Bruins outlasted Sunrise Mountain in the second half to nab the consolation championship.
The teams were tied at 26l at halftime, but Mountain View senior Brigham Bateman led the second-half charge with 11 of his 18 points.
Tyri White had 15 points to lead Sunrise Mountain, which got 10 points from Theodore Williams.
Coral Academy 66, Calvary Chapel 45 — Ryan Djino scored 18 of his 24 points in the first half as the Falcons closed out consolation pool play with a convincing win.
Brennan Rosales added 15 points, and Isaiah Spears scored 14.
Cameron Varela led Calvary Chapel with 17 points.