By Dave Wagner
ALBUQUERQUE — In a fast and furious finish to overtime, Logan’s Brinton Roach took the ball hard to the basket as the final seconds ticked away. With his team down by one and the state boys Class 2A championship on the line, he put in his driving shot and made contact with Magdalena senior Dre Montoya.
Block or charge? The call went Montoya’s way, the basket was waved off and the unbeaten, top-seeded Steers held on for a 61-60 victory at The Pit.
Needless to say, it was Heartbreak City for the third-seeded Longhorns (24-7).
“I dreamed about this game coming down to the end like that this morning,” Logan coach Randy Robertson said. “It didn’t play out quite the way I dreamed about.”
Senior guard Tyler Julian scored 24 points for the Steers (31-0) while senior forward Michael Chambers, who cooled off after a hot start, finished with 17.
Meantime, the Longhorns got double-doubles from seniors Wesley Gudgell (20 points, 17 rebounds) and Wyatt Strand (18 and 11), and 18 points from junior guard Michael Estrada.
The overtime turned frenetic in the final moments as both teams missed opportunities to perhaps take control.
Leading by one, Chambers missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 9.2 seconds left and the Longhorns hurried the ball up the court.
Montoya, back trying to protect the basket, said he did the only thing he could in that situation.
“It was a 2-on-1,”he said. “I saw (Roach) duck his shoulder and I just took the hit.”
While the Longhorns trailed much of the way, they opened a pair of four-point leads late, the latter at 55-51 when Roach scored on an offensive rebound with 35 seconds left.
Chambers then converted a four-point play, hitting a long 3-pointer from the deep left wing and adding a free throw after drawing contact from a Logan defender.
Robertson said he thought close games his team has been through during the season might play in the Longhorns’ favor in a tight game against an opponent outscoring its foes by an average of just over 35 points a game.
“We’ve played a lot of pretty tough games, won a few, lost a few,” Robertson said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game. I think my guys left everything on the floor.”
It was only the Steers’ contest game this season decided by less than 10 points.
“I felt pretty confident (about winning) if it was going to come down to the wire,” Strand said. “I’m proud of these guys right here. Magdalena has a good ballclub.”
Mirabal praised the play of the Longhorns.