By: Kassey Frazier
The Mountain Ridge High School crowd was dressed in all white to support its boys basketball team, chanting to the music of its own theme song “Go Mountain Ridge!” and “This is our house!”
But the Mountain Lions fell short against their opponents, No. 10 St. Mary’s High School, 54-52 in overtime, in the Division I boys basketball state tournament’s second round.
St. Mary’s advanced to play Mesa High in the quarterfinals at Wells Fargo Arena. which the team will play at 6 p.m. Wednesday. .
Saturday’s game was tied at the end of each quarter, and the final four minutes of the game went back and fourth with frequent timeouts.
The last one was called by St. Mary’s with 6.8 seconds left to go in the game, with the question of regulation or overtime hanging in the balance. Josh Green, the only freshman on the varsity team, for the Mountain Lions, missed his three-point shot, which sealed the 54-52 in overtime win for St. Mary’s.
The Mountain Lions were missing many of their free throws, which made it hard for them to stay in the game.
“It was one of those games were they were making adjustments, and we would have to counter that and vice versa,” Mountain Ridge coach Eli Lopez said. “I thought the one thing that kind of hurt us was our free-throw shooting.
“We missed way too many free throws, and I think that was the difference in the game.”
Junior forward Jared Rodriguez was responsible for many of the free throws that were made and several that were missed during the game.
“I don’t know what was happening,” Rodriguez said. “I just wasn’t hitting. I played good, I had the most points, but didn’t really have anyone to back me up, but I wish I did because if I did we could have won.”
With a lost scratchy voice by the end of the game. St. Mary’s coach Ty Amundsen had some advice for his players before the game.
“I knew the game was going to be physical on both sides so I just wanted to match their physicalness,” Amundsen said. “They’re a great team, well coached, and they do a great job, so I knew we were going to have our hands full coming into this game.”
The game was a tug-a-war tie for the teams as they found themselves in overtime.
“Get ready for a war,” Amundsen said. “I knew it was going to be a battle. Just really first stepping on the floor, it was going to be a war on both sides!”
Amundsen talked about what is next for his Knights.
“We have Mesa down at Arizona State for the elite eight, and we will see how that goes,” Amundsen.