The stage was set for the Durango High School boys basketball team to end an otherwise disappointing season with a smile.
Willy Frownfelter had just drilled a 3 to tie the game at 35 with four seconds left, and Gustavo Zavala opened the extra frame with a chance at a three-point play.
The Red Sea was rocking, and the visiting fans from Cortez nervously were hoping to hang on after watching a 10-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle away.
But with the momentum and score on their side, the Demons were bedeviled once again by a spell of turnovers, and Montezuma-Cortez High School took advantage for a 42-38 overtime victory on Durangos senior night.
Just like all season, something new hit us every single game, DHS head coach Alan Batiste said. That was our first overtime the pressures on. ... Its just about being fundamentally sound, staying focused and making the easy plays, not the home runs.
With 1:43 left to go in overtime and DHS leading 38-37, the brief turnover parade began.
An errant DHS pass sailed out of bounds, leading to a pair of free throws from Corey Adams, who led MCHS with 13 points, for a 39-38 Panthers lead.
Moments later, a lob pass for Morgan Miller in the post found its way into the Panthers hands, and Tyler Largo split a pair from the line for a 40-38 lead.
Another errant pass with 16 seconds left got lost in traffic in the paint, allowing Adams to hit a free throw, and Millers last ditch contested 3-point attempt bounced away.
Adams sealed the deal with one more free throw with 1 second left in overtime, setting off a raucous celebration from the orange-and-black-clad contingent in attendance.
After allowing a 15-0 run with a nearly nine-minute scoring drought in the second and third quarters, DHS (4-17, 1-9 Southwestern League) trailed 27-17 heading into the fourth.
But then, as theyd done in last Saturdays loss to Fruita Monument, the Demons began to click offensively. Offensive rebounding, putbacks and timely 3s helped DHS trim the lead to 35-33.
When the Panthers Alex Lopez, in the game because key posts Andy Wynes and Jay Rainer had fouled out, hit just one of two free throws with 21 seconds left, the door remained open for DHS to finish its comeback.
After a handful of perimeter passes and a near-turnover, the ball found its way to Frownfelter at the top of the key with four seconds left, and the sophomore buried a triple, giving a crowd that had been building toward a crescendo the chance to explode itd been looking for.
We werent sure who was going to shoot it. It came to me, and I just took it, Frownfelter said. I knew it was going in.
Before the key 3, DHS thought it had a chance to cut the lead to three after Zavala was fouled on what appeared to be an attempt at a tip putback with DHS trailing 29-24.
The referees, however, saw it differently and awarded Zavala a one-and-one opportunity, and the senior missed the front end.
It was clearly a foul on the tipback, Batiste said.
Zavala led DHS with 14 points in his final game in a Demons uniform.
Zavala (parents Blanca and Gustavo) and Lukas DeBolt (parents Brenda and Scott) were honored before the game on Durangos senior night.