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Summer team drops buzzer beater

Centennial holds on for the 42-40 summer league basketball win


by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - Sandys Austin Gorski looks to split the Centennial defense during last weeks 42-40 summer league loss. The Sandy boys’ basketball summer team nearly pulled off a big fourth-quarter comeback against Centennial on June 18, but its long heave in the waning moments went awry and the Eagles escaped with a 42-40 victory.

After cutting an eight-point deficit to two, the Pioneers fouled Centennial’s Duran Andrews with 1.9 seconds left. Andrews missed the front end of the one-and-one and Sandy quickly passed to Tyler New who launched a desperation shot from half-court at the buzzer. It harmlessly bounced off the left side of the backboard and the Eagles escaped with a 42-40 victory.

The Pioneers were never in control beyond the first few minutes and were constantly fighting to crawl back into the game. Their only lead was 5-4 two minutes into the game.

“Offense is going to be our problem a lot,” Sandy coach Jason Maki said. “Our defense and rebounding is going to be pretty good, but we are going to have to find a way to score some baskets.”

Centennial took a 25-19 lead into halftime and was poised to turn the game into a blowout when it scored on its first possession of the second half. Sandy stayed competitive and used an 8-0 run, capped by two straight 3-pointers by Juan Ruiz, to tie the game with three minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The Eagles called a timeout to stop the bleeding, and they had just the Band-Aid for the situation. Centennial inserted Andrew Ritschard into the game and he took over. Ritschard, who hadn’t scored to that point, scored 13 consecutive points for the Eagles in the final minutes of the third quarter and into the fourth. He scored with driving layups, mid-range jumpers and a few free throws. Rischard’s outburst kept Centennial out in front for the duration.

Sandy post Austin Gorski went on a mini-run of his own in the fourth quarter to keep the Pioneers close. He converted on a baby-hook, a deep three and two foul shots in a three-minute span that brought Sandy to within one possession, but it wasn’t enough.

Gorski led Sandy with 13 points and Ruiz threw in seven points. Ritschard’s 13 points led Centennial, while Derek Melvin added eight points for the visiting Eagles.

Maki said the game was like any other in that they wanted to win, but the experience of playing in a close game will prepare what is an extremely young team for the future.

“This is what the summer is for. We don’t have anybody with more than 30 seconds of varsity experience, and Centennial had six returners,” Maki said. “We’re still just learning, but I like this team. They play hard and they are very coachable.”