GRANDVIEW — As junior Angel Cuevas sprinted down the floor toward the ‘Hounds basket, sophomore Noe Medina received an inbounds pitch and go on the left sideline and launched a half court chest pass to his teammate in stride with under 10 seconds remaining in their double overtime game against East Valley on Friday night.
All that the 6’4” center could think of while he hauled in the playground pass over the trailing defense was “catch the ball and don’t miss.” Cuevas made a decisive move to the western goal and with the ball in his right hand, elevated strong to the rim.
Teammates stood up to watch and cheer on the rapid action unfold while Cuevas softly kissed the ball off the glass for the go ahead and game winning field goal with 6.4-seconds remaining. Players and spectators erupted when Grandview took their first lead in the extra periods at 72-71.
“It feels good to be one of the guys to step up and be clutch for your team in the win, and I’m glad I did tonight,” Cuevas expressed after scoring 13 points and making 3 of 4 free throws, grabbing 7 rebounds, 5 off. and 2 def. boards.
There was still time for East Valley to inbound the ball from underneath their basket and get a good shot off. Senior guard Marckos Carrillo found sophomore Erik Navarro for a high percentage, mid-range shot but was fouled by Grandview junior Nicholas “Nicky” Gutierrez with 1.8 ticks left.
After missing the first free throw, Navarro’s second shot was unable to find the bottom of the net and Gutierrez came down with the contested rebound to secure the hard-fought, one-point conference victory. “… I needed that rebound because that’s just what we needed to close the game out.”
The sharp shooting guard scored a game high 27 points on 7 of 8 field goals, 3 of 6 from beyond the arch to go along with his 5 rebounds, 2 off. and 3 def.
“In the whole second half, I really felt like I couldn’t be guarded,” Gutierrez exclaimed after he was able to break free from the Red Devils’ double team and face guarding efforts in knocking down six points in the final overtime period.
Grandview (6-2 CWAC, 8-2 overall) was out in front 27-18 at the break. East Valley coach Steve Elder dialed up a few adjustments to attack Grandview’s zone and by the end of the third, the Greyhounds’ lead was cut to 45-40.
The Red Devils (3-4, 5-4) were led by junior Jace Durand and sophomore Kaleb Thorson, who combined for 45 points. In the fourth, the visitors outscored the ‘Hounds 14-9 to tie the game at regulation.
“In those type of situations, we’re always positive. We’re not getting down on each other, just building everyone up and staying confident,” Gutierrez conveyed.
The team’s determined will and experience from an earlier one-point home loss against Toppenish on Dec. 20, 2019, inspired the ‘Hounds in battling through their hardwood lapses to find a way to win.
“We’ve been telling the guys when we get the board to run the floor. We want to push and run it up the side,” coach Frankie Medina stated. “During one of our time outs, I told Angel you got to go. I want you to go. He did a great job of running the floor and we found him.”