by: THE POST: PARKER LEE - Mt. Hood's Colby Mitchell drives the center of the lane for two points during last week's home loss to Clackamas.

Mt. Hood’s Brock Otis thought he was the hero.

With the Saints trailing by one, Otis stole the ball and it took it the length of the floor, finishing with a two-handed slam. The dunk put Mt. Hood in front with less than 10 seconds remaining.

With the pressure on Clackamas, the Cougars hustled down the court, but had no easy shot. The Cougars finally found forward Grant Sitton in front of their own bench. No one else was open, so Sitton pulled the trigger with the toes of his Nikes a few inches behind the 3-point line. The shot splashed through the nylon with 1.2 seconds left, robbing the Saints of the win.

Mt. Hood’s football-throw from three-quarters court found nothing but air, and Clackamas escaped with a 71-69 win.

“We just wanted to get a hand up and we did a really good job,” Mt. Hood coach Geoff Gibor said. “He made a really big shot, and he made a few of those tonight. Obviously, we wish we had it again.”

The final few seconds epitomized the back-and-forth nature of the game, which saw nine ties and 17 lead changes.

Mt. Hood stayed in a zone defense throughout, which kept the Cougars out of the key and forced them to settle for long shots. Clackamas finished 10-for-27 (.370) from beyond the arc, hitting four long balls that pushed them into the lead ending with Sitton’s swish from the edge of the court.

Clackamas guard Michone Hopkins, who lead the team with 16 points, made four threes.

On the contrary, the Saints did not shoot efficiently from anywhere on the floor. They shot 24 of 65 (.369), but tried to make up for that by getting to the free-throw line.

Forward Colby Mitchell made 10 of his 13 (.769) foul shots and led all scorers with 21 points. As a team, Mt. Hood was 17-for-24 (.708) from the charity stripe, which wasn’t terrible, but left the team a few points short.

The Saints held a 51-32 edge on the boards, but struggled to cash in on those second chances.

“In a rivalry like this, it’s just a battle. You have to throw the stat sheet out the window,” Gibor said. “Credit to those guys. They played well and made a big shot.”

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