It was the kind of game one would expect given the boys basketball prowess of Pinnacle and Mesa Mountain View.
Mountain View up six in the first period. Pinnacle up seven in the third. Down the stretch, anybody's game. For Mountain View fans — those aware of the ability of Pinnacle's Dorian Pickens — there had to be a bad feeling with 1:32 left to play.
That''s when Pickens got a quick return pass from Trey Ingram on the perimeter. Pickens had ample time to measure his shot, fire and sink a tie-breaking 3 that carried Pinnacle to a 66-65 victory over Mountain View at Toro Gym.
“I had a good feeling,” Pinnacle coach Charlie Wilde said about Pickens' look for the game's key basket. “We knew it would be a tough game. They run their set plays so well. They were trying to deny Dorian the ball. We were trying to take away 10 (Mountain View's Austin Denham) and do the best we could on (Payton) Dastrup. I thought our bigs (Ty Griffin, Cameron Gilbert and Ben Wahlberg) did a good job defending.”
Andy Sessions (13 points) made two free throws with 1:13 left to pull Mountain View within 64-63. After Ingram missed the front-end of a one-and-one with 45 seconds left, Mountain View gained possession. Sessions ended up with ball in the lane, but his 12-footer was short. Wahlberg bumped the lead back to 66-63 with two free throws with 12 seconds left. Sessions layup with 4.9 made it 66-65.
Mountain View got no chance for a last shot. Pickens was fouled with three seconds left. He missed the first free throw, but the rebound caromed to the corner and a teammate as time expired.
Mountain View led at the end of the first-quarter (13-9) and third quarter (47-46) in the see-saw battle between Division I powers. Pinnacle, behind a 10-point, second period from Pickens, led at intermission, 30-27.
But as Pickens' offense picked up in the second period, it did again in the fourth (11 points in the final period.) Pickens sank the third of his four 3s to open the final period to put Pinnacle up (49-47). With 4:26 left the game was tied at 53 on a three by Denham (19 points). A pair of field goals by Dastrup (20 points), the Toros 6-foot-8 post, put Mountain View up for brief moments and the final time, 57-56, with 3:05 left. Two ties ensued at 59 and 61. Two free throws by Mountain View's Andy Sessions (13 points) knotted the game at 61 with 1:53 left.
Twenty-one seconds later Pickens gave Pinnacle the space it needed to pull off a huge road win. Pinnacle is 12-6, 9-1 in power-ranking games. Mountain View is 14-5 overall and 8-2 in its power-ranking games.
“That's what will make him a great college player,” Wilde said of the Stanford-bound senior. “He doesn't have to have the ball all the time to score. He can score in bunches.”
Mountain View averages about six threes a game. The Toros lost the battle of 3s this night, 9-3. Ingram was the only other Pinnacle player in double figures. He totaled 10 points, including three 3s.