In a thrilling and physical overtime game against the visiting Service Cougars on Friday night, the Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball team found themselves trailing until the final minutes of the game.
Down the stretch, TMHS’ guards led a comeback that saw the Falcons driving the basket against a taller Service defense, ending many plays on the ground and at the line. Though inspired by aggressive guard play and clutch shooting, the Falcons were unable to overcome the Cougars in overtime and lost the barn burner of a game, 63-66.
“Their guards said ‘we’re gonna take it to the hole,’ and we couldn’t stop them,” Service coach Tyler Moore said. “They were tough getting to the rim and you have to give credit to Thunder Mountain. It was a tough game down here.”
Service was led in the win by junior captain Nathan Fromm’s 23 points. Guard Jason Lombard contributed 10.
Falcons guard RJ Manning led his team with 20 and Dante Simms added 17.
TMHS coach John Blasco said he learned a lot about his team in the defeat.
“We went with a few different rotations,” he said. “Different guys stepped into roles that they weren’t necessarily doing in practice. I think we proved that we can play tougher than we did last weekend (against Juneau-Douglas High School). “Service is a quality team, they have a player that’s going to probably be in the rankings of player of the year in Fromm, and to get to overtime being down 10 in the third quarter and battle back…. you know, I was definitely proud of my team.”
Service jumped to a six point lead in the opening minutes only to see TMHS, buoyed by Saviers, catch back up. Saviers hit a deep turnaround three at the buzzer to close the quarter 18-16. In the second, Service went on a seven point run and closed the half with the lead 32-26 lead.
The third quarter was a back and forth affair and the Falcons went into the fourth trailing by seven. To cut the deficit, TMHS looked almost exclusively to attack the basket with senior Dante Simms. “We recognized that we had to start penetrating more and our guards decided to attack the basket harder. We attacked better but with control, so when the contact came we were ready for it,” coach Blasco said. Both teams got to the line many times down the stretch, with TMHS scraping back into the game by hitting their attempts from the line, closing regulation 58-58.
In overtime, down one point with 26 seconds left, TMHS got the ball to RJ Manning, who ran into a Service defender at center court and lost the ball out of bounds. With 11 seconds left, Fromm inbounded to guard Xavier Harris, who was immediately fouled. Harris hit both free throws. The Falcons’ Simms tried a desperation full-court heave that missed.