WALLA WALLA — With less than a second remaining in regulation, DeSales’ Cam Richman stood on the free-throw line with a chance to seal a victory against visiting Sunnyside Christian. After making his first two to tie the game at 55, Richman’s third attempt grazed both sides of the rim before falling out to force overtime.
“We get down to the end of regulation, we got our best free-throw shooter on the line with two shots to go ahead, he misses both of them,” DeSales coach Allyn Griffin said. “We get him on the line again with three shots, with .6 seconds to go, he made two out of the three. Generally he won’t miss free throws, I’ve seen him hit 25 in a row in practice.”
After nearly four minutes in the extra period, the two teams battled to a 59-59 tie, but with less than a second remaining on the game clock, it was Sunnyside Christian’s Cody Gamboa who ended the game.
Gamboa dove into the lane from the top of the arc and with the clock dwindling, he threw up a right-handed runner that stalled on the back iron before falling through the hoop to give the Knights a 61-59 win.
“We just want to be in a position to win at the end of the game and we were,” Griffin said. “Our guys did a tremendous job, worked hard, fought hard and I’m proud of the outcome.”
Gamboa’s runner came after Sunnyside Christian battled back from a eight-point deficit during the fourth quarter.
With DeSales (8-11, 4-6 in Southeast 2B) leading 51-43, the Knights turned four consecutive Irish turnovers into six points. After Joel Martin nailed a 3-pointer to give Sunnyside Christian its first lead since midway through the third quarter, Richman missed two free throws with a chance to retake the lead.
The Knights then added to their lead, as Martin nailed a free throw to give the Knights a two-point cushion. After he missed his second shot at the line, Sunnyside Christian’s Justin Faber secured the rebound and got fouled, with a chance to extend the lead. After he hit both of his free throws, DeSales’ chances looked grim.
But Richman immediately took the inbound pass and sprinted up court. As he went into the lane, he took a hard foul before narrowly missing an and-one opportunity. After he knocked down his two freebies, the Irish were forced to intentionally foul in hopes of extending the game.
Sunnyside Christian’s Brant Bosma went to the charity stripe for a 1-and-1 and immediately missed the first attempt. After DeSales grabbed the rebound, the Irish missed two attempts at a tie, until Richman found the ball in his hands with less than a second left.
His 3-point attempt fell well short of the hoop, but the shrill of the referee’s whistle indicated he had earned a trip to the line for three free throw attempts and a chance at the win. After hitting the first two and ensuring overtime, Richman’s third attempt just missed.
“Cam Richman — you’ve got to feed him when he’s hot,” Irish senior Darryl Galloway said. “I don’t know how he does it, but he puts it up and gets it in. All I know is that when he’s feeling it, get him the ball.”
Richman finished with a game-high 25 points, including 16 in the second half and overtime combined. Griffin said Richman has gotten more assertive on the offensive end as the season has progressed.
“I’ve asked these guys to get in the paint and do so eagerly,” Griffin said. “There was a couple times where he was a little bit out of control, but he’s got a knack for getting to the rim. Once he learns how to finish a little better, he’s going to be tough to stop.”
On senior night, seniors Adam Eskil and Galloway came up with 13 points and 12 points, respectively. Eskil knocked down a game-high three 3-pointers — his last one coming at the beginning of the fourth quarter on an impressive head fake that forced his defender to fly past him.
“I saw him coming and I was going to shoot it but then he was right there,” Eskil said. “So I pump faked and there was no one there, so I shot it again.”
Galloway, who fouled out near the end of regulation, added a game-high five assists. He said as the team’s primary ballhandler, it’s his job to get the team into a good flow offensively.
“It feels good to play my last home game,” he said. “It sucks that we couldn’t come out with the win. It’s rough that I had to foul out, but it was a good game — that’s all you can hope for.”
Griffin credited Galloway and Eskil, along with senior Ben Miedema, who missed the game with an injury, for their effort during their four years with DeSales.
“I’ve been with these guys since I got the job four years ago,” Griffin said. “This was my first class so they’re very special to me. They’re a special group to me, regardless of what their stats are. I ask a lot of them in terms of leadership, not only physically but emotionally with these young guys as well.”
The Irish will have a quick turnaround, as they travel to face Waitsburg-Prescott in a District 9 loser-out game tonight at 6 p.m.
“Sunnyside Christian, they know how to win,” he said. “What we can take moving forward is we know what it takes to play with these guys. It doesn’t matter who we play in our league, we know how we need to play in order to be successful. We’ve got to play smart. We’ve got to play smart. We’ve got to play together.”
SUNNYSIDE CHRISTIAN 61, DESALES 59 OT
SUNNYSIDE CHRISTIAN (61) — Bosma 2-9 0-1 4, Hoff 4-6 0-0 8, Broersma 4-9 0-0 8, Martin 4-12 3-4 12, D. Scheenstra 6-9 1-2 13, Gamboa 5-9 0-0 10, Faber 2-6 4-4 6, Cervantes 0-1 0-0 0, N. Scheenstra 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-61 8-11 61.
DESALES (59) — Richman 8-22 7-12 25, Galloway 4-12 2-2 12, Eskil 5-13 0-0 13, Jacobson 1-7 0-0 3, Leahy 1-3 0-0 2, Kjeldgaard 0-4 0-0 0, Miedema 2-3 0-0 4, Arellano 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-64 9-14 59.
S-C 10 1 12 22 6 — 61
DeS 11 8 20 14 4 — 59
3-point goals — S-C 1 (Martin), DeS 8 (Eskil 3, Richman 2, Galloway 2, Jacobson). Total fouls — S-C 14, DeS 14. Fouled out — DeS (Galloway). Technical fouls — none. Total rebounds — S-C 36 (Bosma 6), DeS 34 (Leahy 7). Turnovers — S-C 9, DeS 14. Assists — S-C 3 (Bosma, Hoff, Gamboa), DeS 8 (Galloway 5).