By JASON EPP
Leader & Times
HUGOTON - It was not the championship game of the Blue and Red Classic. But by the end of double-overtime the crowd that had made its way to the east gym made it look like it was. And when the final buzzer had gone off, and the Southwestern Height Mustangs had topped the Perryton Rangers 66-64, they celebrated like it was the championship.
"It was a game where we had to see who would step up when a couple of our seniors fouled out, said Mustangs coach Nefro Saucedo. "A couple of juniors and a soph
omores stepped up."
At the end of the first overtime, Heights trailed 57-55 when Rogelio Martinez scored in the paint after a miss with four second left to send it to a second overtime. Heights led in the second overtime 63-59 after another Martinez put-back with 1:14 left.
Ben Johnsrud went to the free throw line with 27 seconds left, and the Mustangs leading by two and looking to put the lead back to four. But he missed both, but Jeff Dutton got the loose ball and put Heights back up by four with 22 second left.
Perryton quickly moved down the court and got two free throws to cut the lead back to two. Then a Ranger steal on the inbounds put Perryton at the line with a chance to tie. But they missed the first, and Heights' Clayton Chase, who was named to the all-tournament team got the inbounds pass, then hit one of two for the final tally.
"I think it's games like this where we do win the close one that builds our confidence and helps us get things turned around," said Saucedo. " We've been pushing them about conditioni ng from the beginning of our practices this year . When we have games like this and have the better conditioning it will pay off."
Heights spent most of the game trying to catch the Rangers. The Mustangs held an early 4-3 lead, but trailed almost the entire game. Perryton built a 9-4 lead at the end of the first quarter, and was leading 22-18 at the half. With 4:22 left in the third, Heights still trailed 30-22, and 34-29 heading into the fourth.
From that point forward, Height began the climb to catch Perryton.
Heights forced back-to-back turnovers, and after a Chase jumper, cut the lead to just one. But a four-point play on Perryton's next possession put the margin back to five. But 9 of 12 shooting from the charity stripe put Heights in position for a chance to win.
Clayton Chase finished with 26 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists. Rogelio Martinez scored 14 and grabbed 8 boards, and Ben Johnsrud finished with 9 points and 5 assists.
Heights finished the tournament 2-1 with their only loss coming on the first night to tournament champion, Hooker.