Clutch 3-pointer with time winding down sends Mustangs to 72-71
Only four points were scored over the final one minute, 33 seconds of a tighter-than-a-square-knot matchup between the GHS boys basketball team and host Palma.
Three of those dialed up with time ticking toward triple zeros sent the Mustangs into a frenzy.
Down two with 7.2 seconds to go, a Mustangs’ inbounds pass went to Cameron Harrell who attracted three Chieftain defenders as he pierced the lane, delivering a smooth kick-out pass to Chris Catanzaro, wide open at the right elbow.
The senior set his feet and let fly a game-clinching trey to lift GHS over Palma 72-71 in a pivotal Tri-County Athletic League road test on Wednesday night.
One final full-court heave fell well short as the buzzer sounded.
“It was supposed to go to Cameron Yawary but Cameron Harrell made the nice pass and I was wide open,” an ecstatic Catanzaro said still catching his breath. “I took the shot and it went in. It felt good. I knew I had to knock it down.”
GHS owned a four-point advantage into the fourth quarter, however, that did not stick and the Chieftains clipped their way into striking distance before lassoing the lead on a 3-pointer from Justin Regester to make it 70-67 Palma with 2:36 to play.
A pair of Yawary free throws sent the contest to 70-69 as time plummeted under one minute. The two teams exchanged turnovers and after an offensive foul on Dylan Jensen, Palma’s Jack Powers hit one of two free throws for 71-69.
On the Mustangs ensuing trip up the court, a chance to win the game – or tie for that matter – seemed unlikely.
Joe Paulo swiped Harrell clean near midcourt but the sophomore guard was whistled for traveling, giving the Mustangs possession following a timeout.
“They said they wanted to run it for a three. On the road you go for the win,” GHS head coach Matt Tait said. “They executed. Harrell made a good read and ‘Cat’ knocked it down. It’s a great win for the kids. They worked hard this week and they did enough to get by.
“They buckled down there at the end and got some stops defensively. We still have a lot to do to get better defensively.”
The Mustangs weathered a game-high 36-point performance from Chieftains’ (11-6, 3-2 TCAL) scintillating sophomore Noah Allen, who caught fire in the second quarter and rode his hot streak to the end.
“The first thing on the scouting report I put together said don’t let Noah take over. Whoops,” Tait said. “That’s the best I’ve seen him play this year. He was really feeling it.”
Yawary finished with 24 points, including three 3-pointers on a night where the Mustangs (10-6, 3-1 TCAL) converted 10 times from distance. Jensen, Ryan Valentino-Pickett and Nick Chang each drained a pair of shots from beyond the arc.
Neither team held a lead larger than six points, including Palma’s brief 8-2 first-quarter cushion, which was quickly negated by back-to-back Nick Chang 3-pointers and a Mustangs 56-50 lead following a nifty spinning drive to the hoop from Yawary late in the third.
A slow, low-scoring opening period gave way to the exact opposite in the second as Allen deposited 16 of Palma’s 25 points. Conversely, Dietrich Baumgartner’s six second-quarter points, along with three Yawary triples, kept the Mustangs toe to toe into the locker room even at 39-all.
“We are resilient,” Catanzaro said. “We are going to keep fighting no matter what.”
Baumgartner and Jensen each had eight points, Charles Walker put in five and Ryan Valentino-Pickett dropped in six for the Mustangs.
The Gilroy High junior varsity basketball team rolled past Palma 61-41 on Wednesday night.
The victory moves the Mustangs to 14-4 overall and 4-1 in league play.
Brendan Holler led teh way with 12 points, Luke Otteson had 11 points and eight rebounds, David Gonzalez contributed seven points five steals and Tommy Cox posted 10 points.