It reads like the pages of a script: Veteran home team erases eight-point deficit to tie young opponent at 52 with 2:28 remaining in playoff game.
Thursday night, no one told visiting Sierra Vista Buena the ending. So the Colts wrote their own.
No. 21 seed Buena battled back with two straight driving layups to take a 56-52 lead over No. 12 Deer Valley in the Division I boys basketball first round game. Then the underdog made four of six free throws in the final minute to win 60-55.
"We have five sophomores playing varsity and they made a big move toward becoming men today," Buena coach Dave Glasgow said. "We really respect Deer Valley and they way they played. They made runs."
The Skyhawks trailed 52-47 with 3:40 remaining. Senior guard Chris Chandler III missed a three pointer but senior guard Trevor Wick batted the rebound to junior point guard Deron Kyle, who swished a trey from the top of the key.
Then Chandler stole the ball, drove in for a layup and was fouled. He sank both free throws to tie the game.
So Deer Valley coach Jed Dunn continued to order full court pressure, believing the momentum would overwhelm a Buena team that plays only one senior.
"I thought the momentum would carry us," Dunn said. "Our guys were tired and that was my fault. I didn't do a good job subbing. I tried to use my time outs to rest them. We tied it at 52 and I continued to pressure thinking we were on a roll and maybe we could get another quick one. To their credit, those young kids handled our pressure late."
After breaking the press that senior, leading scorer Rashawn Avery, took it to the cup to break the tie. After the Skyhawks missed, sophomore point guard Roderick Springer made his own layup to put the Colts in the drivers' seat with 1:40 left.
"(Springer) is going to be the best point guard ever to play at Buena," Glasgow said. "But the big basket when it was tied was by Avery and he's carried us all season."
Avery was called for a charge just under the minute mark, but redeemed himself by blocking Wick's layup attempt with 41.6 seconds on the clock. It resulted in a jump ball and the possession arrow was in Buena's favor.
Avery followed by sinking two free throws. Sophomore forward Rees Plummer provided a last gasp on a three-point play with 20.7 seconds left, cutting it to 58-55. But Buena held on.
The Colts made their charge midway through the second quarter, as their guards penetrated the Deer Valley defense and kicked out to open shooters in the corners.
In the final four minutes of the half, Springer made three treys from the right corner. He poured in 12 of his game-high 18 points in the first half. Avery added a triple from the left corner to put Buena up 31-27 at the break.
Two other youngsters helped the visitors maintain their advantage. Sophomore guard Mojave Nick scored 11 points, and nine of those gave his team the lead in situations where it had trailed or were tied.
And when the guards misfired, junior Gilbert Pinckney was often there to extend the possession or put back the miss. More than half of the inexperienced post man's 12 rebounds were on the offensive glass.
"Mojave Nick had a huge game," Glasgow said. "We thought they were kind of small and (Pinckney) would be able to hurt them inside. He's a transfer from Germany. His level of experience at a high level is not great, but he's going to be very good."
Avery added six boards to his 17 points, just one short of his average.
Buena (21-9) will play at No. 5 Scottsdale Desert Mountain in Saturday's second round.
Junior forward Tyler Watts kept the home team in the game in the first half, scoring 11 of his 13 points in the first 11 minutes.
Plummer became the aggressor in the second half, getting to the basket for 11 of his team-high 14 points. Kyle chipped in 12.
Those are the Skyhawks' three leading scorers and all will be back next year.
"We'll be competitive next year," Dunn said. "It'll be a different kind of team, but those three can carry us pretty far."
But the story of this team was the nine senior who didn't stand out as much in the box score. Wick, Chandler, Shawn Watts, Jacob Lestina, Cole Hayes and Sterling Torres were regulars in the rotation.
And all nine seniors set the tone for what Dunn called the most fun and united of the five teams he's coached at the school. Their hustle, defensive tenacity, grit and unselfish attitude guided a team without a star to 20 victories.
"Their character stands out too, and not just on the court. We did a lot of stuff together — community service — and I'm proud of the boys," Dunn said. "Those kids whose names were not in the spotlight, that's why we were successful. They were doing all the dirty work. Those nine seniors will be missed greatly and they set the bar high for the kids coming up."