Serina Gutierrez – Tucson, AZ
Coming off of a one point loss to (3-5) Desert View, the Amphitheater Panthers (5-4) were focused and ready to come up with the win.
With a slightly better record of (9-3), the Cholla Chargers seemed determined to set the record straight on their home court. A packed crowd filled Cholla with a healthy mix of fans from the home and opposing team.
Jackson Ruai won the tipoff for Amphi to get things rolling in the first quarter. The Chargers would start the game off early with a pair of fouls in the first five minutes of the game.
Ending the first quarter with Amphi leading the Chargers 17-14, both teams proved to have tough defenders and consistent shooters. Both teams would gain steals for their team’s benefit throughout the quarter.
Before the first half came to an end, you could see the competitive drive from both sides. Blocks became common, the gymnasium grew louder, and the whistles blew more frequently.
At the end of the quarter, both teams had thirteen points as a result of seven fouls. Midway through the quarter it was apparent that both teams were frustrated with the number of fouls called. Though, by the reactions of the coaches, it was hard to tell if too many fouls were called or if there should have been more given. Cholla would take a timeout with 5:30 left in the half to try to calm down. Although Amphi had more fouls, they did come up with sixteen points off them and at the end of the second quarter they lead by 7 points.
Cholla did not lay down for the Panthers, especially Marcel Dean. He would score 85% of the Charger’s points in the quarter to keep the team from leaving the half down by more than they hoped.
Cholla would be down most of the game, but rally back late in the final quarter to keep the their hopes for alive. Led by Marcel Dean and Jevon Jones, Cholla would outscore Amphi 19-12.
Dean would get put on the line with 1:41 left in the game needing both shots to give his team the lead for the first time. He tied the game with his first free throw, them off a miss he miraculously grabbed his own rebound and put back to put the Chargers up by three with less than a minute left.
Ruai did not want his team to lose in the same fashion as they did last game, With twenty four seconds left in the game, he received a pass from teammate Isiah Ingram and send the Amphi fans into a frenzy with a three pointer to tie the game.
With the momentum having been shifted back and forth, both teams would heavily battle it out in overtime.
Cohen Kimmel, Isiah Ingram and Jackson Ruai would score nine points in overtime to put their team on top and come away with the win 67-63.
Cholla will next host Poston Butte on January 11th at 7 pm.
Amphi will play Ocean View in the Sabino Holiday Tournament on December 28th at 11am.