FAIRFIELD — Watch out. There’s a new crosstown league clash in boys basketball.
Rodriguez High sank six of eight free throws in the second overtime period Thursday night to pull out a 78-70 Monticello Empire League victory over Armijo, rallyting from a big deficit after three quarters.
“This was definitely a wild one,” Rodriguez coach Nate Rankin said. “Armijo’s got a great team, and we knew that. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy when we came to their house. . . . Those guys are exceptionally good athletes. We dug ourselves a hole, but we dug our way out. We had to change up our strategy. The kids played hard and they played well.”
After trailing 28-27 at the half, the Indians held a 45-32 lead after three quarters, but then committed 11 turnovers in the final eight minutes of regulation to let the Mustangs mount a comeback.
That they did as Rodriguez outscored Armijo 25-12 behind seven points from Johnny Shelton, including a layup with 20 seconds to play to force overtime. Shelton also had a chance to win the game in regulation, but missed two free throws with 8 seconds left.
In the first overtime, the Mustangs jumped out to an early four-point lead with a 3-pointer by Timothy Moore Jr. and a pair of foul shots by Ronald Glover. But Armijo hung tough, limiting Rodriguez to just four free throws over the final 2 minutes to stay alive.
Hosea Barfield was the hero for the Indians in the first four minutes of overtime, scoring seven of his team’s eight points, including a layup with just 5 seconds to go to force the second overtime.
Turnovers – this time five – hurt the Indians in the second OT, with the Mustangs turning them into critical points. Shelton was once again the key for the Mustangs, scoring six of his team’s 14 points over the final four minutes.
The game was tied at 70 after Glover hit the second of two free throws, then the Mustangs pulled away with Glover and Shelton hitting layups, while Shelton and Kyle Williams each sank two free throws to put the game away in the final 30 seconds.
Even though his team lost, Armijo coach Carly Perales wasn’t too disappointed.
“We talked about keeping our composure, that was going to be a key,” Perales said. “We’ve been in these situations before. Tonight, with that lead, we just didn’t protect the basketball well enough and it came back to bite us. We were fortunate to get it into the overtime after the kid misses two free throws.
“I’m happy with how we played tonight, overall. But in a game where one or two plays can be the difference, you’ve got to make those plays. Tonight, they made a couple more when it counted.”
Shelton finished with 25 points to lead the Mustangs, while Glover, Moore Jr. and Justin Idowu each had 12.
Barfield led Armijo with 21 points, while Terris Brooks had 12. Troy Anderson added 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Jacob Chauvin had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Rodriguez also won the JV game, topping the Indians 50-39. Courtlund McLean led the Mustangs with 15 points, while D’Mario Johnson scored 15 points to lead the Indians.
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.