The 15th Annual Capital City Classic ended in thrilling fashion Friday night as Hidden Valley, Ore., earned a 51-48 victory over Juneau-Douglas High School to claim the title.
In a game that featured momentum swings, precision offense and intense defense, JDHS held a chance to win the game in the waning seconds. Tres Saldivar's 3-point attempt rattled in and out of the basket as time expired, sparking a Mustangs' celebration.
"That last shot he had, he had a good look," JDHS coach George Houston said. "I thought it was going to drop in and I think he did too. It just didn't go and they're a very good team and they certainly kicked our butts in the first half, and we came back in the second. It was one of those games."
Down 16 points at halftime, Juneau-Douglas was in serious trouble.
Hidden Valley, the top-ranked team in Oregon's Class 3A, sliced the Crimson Bears' defense with a series of backdoor lay-ups and 3-pointers in the first half.
JDHS responded, however, but turning up the defensive intensity. Saldivar sparked the defensive charge by covering tournament MVP Jordan Hayter.
The Bears cut Hidden Valley's lead to 40-32 after three quarters. Juneau then opened the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run and twice crawled to within one point of the lead.
"Give credit to Juneau-Douglas. They really stepped up their defense in the second half," Mustangs coach Norm Hayter said. "They really came after us in the second half and gave us trouble. They got back into the game because of their defense and that carried over into their offense. They made some big shots and played hard the whole way."
Juneau-Douglas may have completed the comeback had it not been for Mustang Jordan Hayter's cool demeanor.
The senior hit 7-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter, including fourth straight in the final 28.2 seconds, to keep Juneau and its fired-up fans at bay.
"Last year we had a little experience like this in the state tournament in Oregon," Jordan Hayter said. "Being there last year, we're used to it now. It's the job of a point guard to always be poised and calm."
While Hayter iced the game at the line, Juneau squandered its chances from the charity stripe.
The Crimson Bears (5-2) made just 5-of-15 free throws in the defeat.
"It was won or lost at the free throw line, ultimately," Houston said. "You're going to lose close games when you're 5-of-15."
While JDHS showed heart by coming back from a 16-point deficit, Hidden Valley won the game due to a masterful first-half offensive performance.
The Mustangs imposed their will on JDHS in the first half by running a precise half-court offense full of backdoor lay-ups and hitting four 3-pointers.
Cody Crowe's 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter gave Hidden Valley a 13-6 lead and seized a 29-13 advantage at halftime.
"We saw both of Juneau's games and we definitely knew they'd be the toughest team we'd face," Jordan Hayter said. "We did all we could to prepare and just do our game. We always try to control the tempo and play our game, not theirs."
Hayter led all scorers with 24 points. Kyler Kirchner scored eight points, Crowe had seven points, Alex Demith posted six points while Jordan Kasler and Jimmy Sager had three points each in the win.
Ryan Fagerstrom led the Bears with 14 points while Clae Baker posted eight points. Scott Lesh scored seven points, Will Egolf contributed six points, Faifo Levale added five points while Nico Saldivar and Sam Clark had four points each.
Juneau-Douglas plays next in the Dimond Tournament starting Thursday.
Wasilla 56, Kilsyth, Aus., 42
Matthew Stearman's 13 points lifted Wasilla to a tournament-closing victory over Club Kilsyth from Victoria, Australia.
Jesse Bean and Brad Hobbs had 12 points each while Ian Johannes contributed five points for Wasilla (1-2).
Jeremiah Collins chipped in three points and Zach Orr scored a points for the Warriors.
David Moore and Daniel Allan led the Cobras with 12 points each while Cameron Tait added five in the loss.
Shaun Dixon, Scott Dixon, Troy Jensen, Cameron Tait, Ben Robinson, Tyson Bartley-Raymer and Andrew Preston also scored for Kilsyth.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at email@example.com