Clutch basket carries Mountain Vista boys to next round

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HIGHLANDS RANCH — Chandler Wiscombe went to the bank to bail out the Mountain Vista boys basketball team.

Wiscombe, a 6-foot-1 senior forward, hit a 4-foot bank shot with two seconds remaining to lift the Golden Eagles to a 59-57 victory over Abraham Lincoln on March 2 in the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs.

The Golden Eagles (21-2) advanced to the Sweet 16 round and hosted Monarch (19-5) Wednesday night.

However, it took some last-minute heroics from Wiscombe before Mountain Vista could look ahead.

Mountain Vista didn't shoot well and had to play catch-up after trailing by 10 points in the third quarter of the game played in the Golden Eagles' gym.

Two free throws by Jake Pemberton, who paced the Golden Eagles with 23 points, tied the game at 57-all with 57 seconds to play.

Wiscombe then swiped the Lancers' inbounds pass and after Mountain Vista had two shots blocked, the Golden Eagles called timeout and set up a play for a last shot.

“We forced that last turnover when the game was tied and got the ball,” said Mountain Vista coach Bob Wood. “We did a great job of executing the last play.”

Pemberton had the ball near the 3-point line to the right of the key when he flipped the ball to Wiscombe who banked home the game-winning shot just before the final buzzer sounded.

“That play was designed for me to slip on the ball screen and give me a shot,” said Wiscombe. “The coaches trusted me, my teammates trusted me and got me the ball.

“I was at the perfect angle where I could bank it. I'm used to putting in those bank shots in practice. It was a perfect setup and perfect everything. That was so much fun.”

Wiscombe finished with only five points.

“Wiscombe is not one of our big scorers but we just felt that we would get a real good look and he was calm enough to put it in,” said Wood. “It's a little play that's in our playbook. It's a slip screen.

“We knew with them pressuring up, he would be open and we just wanted him to convert. It's a 4-foot shot. It's not that we're asking him to shoot a 3-pointer although he could do that too. He's one of our better shooters, he's just so unselfish. It was nice for him. I don't know if you can make a bigger shot than that to keep us alive in the playoffs.”

Mountain Vista didn't shoot well against the taller Lancers early in the game, hitting only 18 percent of its field goal attempts in the first quarter.

“It was like there was glass on the rim,” Wiscombe said.

The Golden Eagles wound up shooting 36 percent for the game but didn't help themselves at the foul line, going eight for 16.

“We could not hit a shot,” said Wood. “Jiminy Christmas, we couldn't make anything.”

Still, Mountain Vista rallied to avoid an upset by the Denver Prep League Lancers.

“We're behind and we're fighting the whole game,” said Wood. “It's hard to make shots when you are down. Our kids work and they don't give up. They never quit on anything.

“They believe they can get it done. When they did that cheer of “I Believe We Can Win,” I felt our kids heard it and felt they had a chance.”

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