Sometimes there is honor in losing.
For Craig Reid and the Mountain View Cougars, Saturday was one of those nights.
Immediately after Mountain View’s Cade Cattell followed up a missed 3-pointer with a putback layup to tie the game — his first and only field goal of the night — Madison coach Chuck Matthews signaled for a timeout. The game clock was stopped with less than a second left in the fourth quarter, but the referees had the clock reset for 2.5 seconds.
When play resumed, the Senators inbounded the ball to Myles Fitzgerald-Warren near midcourt. The freshman dribbled a couple of times and found senior Mak Hutson on the left side of the floor.
Hutson quickly set himself and launched a long 3-pointer that found the bottom of the net, sending the Madison bench and fan contingent into a frenzy as the Senators made off with a stunning 58-55 boys basketball victory in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs at Mountain View High School.
“It was a 30-footer,” Reid, the Cougars’ coach, said with a shrug. “What could we do?”
“It’s something that we worked on yesterday, over and over and over again,” Matthews said. “We did it exactly how we did it in practice. We hit a shot at the end. Miracle.”
The buzzer-beating heave advanced Madison of Portland to the 5A state tournament at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, where the Senators will face Sherwood in Thursday’s quarterfinals. It also ended Mountain View’s season, and it overshadowed a dominant performance by the Intermountain Conference player of the year.
Grant Lannin posted game highs of 28 points and 14 rebounds for the Cougars (19-4 overall), while adding two blocks and three assists. The senior wing logged 12 points in the opening quarter and went for 12 more in the third.
“I was just trying to get the win,” an obviously dejected Lannin said afterward. “That was the last game of my high school career and for all of our seniors. So I was just trying to do what I could to get the win. As big of a game as I had, we still lost.”
“Both ends of the floor, he played phenomenal,” Reid said. “It’s good to see the player of the year go out with that kind of game, even if it’s in a losing effort. Obviously it’s very disappointing for him. But 28 and 14? I mean, come on. Huge.”
Kaimi Kurzynowski chipped in with seven points and five boards for Mountain View, which was seeded third in the 16-team 5A postseason field, while Ments Haugen recorded six points and two assists.
But late in the fourth quarter, Haugen fouled out.
“It’s huge. That’s a huge foul,” Reid said. “He kind of got caught in the wrong spot at the wrong time. He’s been our floor general for the whole year. I thought the fifth foul was a good call. He just got caught in the wrong place, put his hand in the cookie jar.”
Still, after Adam Wright made both free throws following the Haugen foul to give No. 14 Madison (17-9) a 55-53 lead, Mountain View had a shot.
Believing it would be difficult to survive overtime without Haugen, Reid, during a timeout before Wright’s go-ahead foul shots, drew up a play for the win. Lannin set a screen for Davis Holly, rolled off and received a pass from Holly. With two defenders in his face, Lannin released a 3-pointer from the left wing. It rattled off, but Cattell, who replaced the disqualified Haugen, soared in from the left side and put back Lannin’s miss to even the score 55-55.
“I was so happy,” Lannin said, a smile sneaking through a heartbroken face. “I was just looking at the clock, and there was less than a second (left). I thought it ended because I didn’t know the (Madison) coach called a timeout.”
But Matthews did. And the clock was reset for 2.5 seconds, enough time for Madison to draw up a buzzer-beating and game-winning play.
“They threw the ball to a ninth-grader who found a kid who made a 30-footer,” Reid said. “That’s basketball. That’s why you play the game. So hats off to them.”
Hutson finished with 22 points, and Aubrey Stephens contributed 19 points for the Senators, whose 2-3 zone defense gave Mountain View fits for much of the night.
“We haven’t seen much zone in a while,” Reid said. “It was an extended 2-3. We could have attacked it better. And the bottom line is if you’re seeing a zone, you’ve got to hit 3’s at some point. You’ve got to make them pay for that. And we were 2-for-14 (from 3-point range).”
The end result, needless to say, was less than desirable for the IMC champions. But for Lannin, and the rest of the Cougars, there were no regrets.
“We all just tried to play as hard as we could,” Lannin said. “And that’s just how it played out. We left it all out there, but it just didn’t go our way tonight.”
—Reporter: 541-383-0307, firstname.lastname@example.org.