Red Mountain's Diego Hernandez got a few minutes more playing time than usual on Tuesday night for the Mountain Lions basketball team. He produced just about every second of that time.
Hernandez, a late arrival from the football team and a key reserve, drilled a 3-point shot from the top of the key with one minute left to snap a 60-60 tie and supply the impetus for the Mountain Lions' 65-62 double overtime win over Chandler in a Division I game at Red Mountain.
Hernandez, a 6-foot-1 senior, capped a 17-point night with his go-ahead trey. Hernandez was thrust in to added playing time due to foul trouble for several Red Mountain players — primarily Jalen Jenkins. After Hernandez's basket, Chandler responded with a putback by Kameron Casey with 22 seconds to cut the lead to 63-62. Chandler fouled with 13 seconds left sending guard Colton Plourd, another overtime hero. Plourd sank both free throws to account for the final points.
Chandler (6-5) got off two shots in the final 13 seconds. Marco Morales had his 3-point attempt carom to the right baseline corner. Teammate Bryce Perkins snatched the rebound and fired up an off-balance, 3-point attempt that bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded. Perkins led Chandler with 14 points. Morales, Kevin Vogl and Kameron Casey added 11 points apiece.
“Diego stepped up big for us,” Desert Mountain coach Todd Fazio said. “He and Trace (Edmier) both had solid games off the bench.” Edmier finished with 11 points.
Plourd, who struggled with his outside shot in regulation, found the range in overtime. He sank two 3s in the first overtime to rally Red Mountain from a 56-51 deficit and eventually force the second overtime with the game tied at 58. Plourd finished with 16 points.
Hernandez, who entered the game averaging three points a game, made his presence felt late in the second period with a couple baskets that helped Red Mountain (5-4) pull within 23-21 at halftime. Jenkins sat to start the third period with three fouls and Hernandez got a second-half start. Red Mountain, which was bottled up offensively by Chandler's zone in the first half, missed its first seven shots of the second period. Most of those were from the perimeter. The Mountain Lions only field goals of the quarter came inside courtesy of Hernandez and Edmier.
That was the beginning of an adjustment Red Mountain made in the second half as they kept pecking away in the paint at the baseline for baskets and free throws. Hernandez scored eight of his 17 points in the third period as Red Mountain opened up a 39-32 lead heading to the final period.
Chandler battled back to force overtime behind Morales and Perkins, the quarterback of Chandler's semifinal football team. Morales drove for a layup and made two free throws to cut a 51-45 lead to 51-49 with 57 seconds left in regulation. Perkins ended up tying it at 51 by sinking two free throws with 24 seconds left. Chandler missed a desperation 30-footer at the end of regulation. Perkins couldn't connect a on a 15-footer on the final shot of the first overtime.
“This was a good win for us,” Fazio said. “We haven't shot it like we're capable of shooting it. But our defense was good enough to help us stem the tide.”
Chandler coach Mark Nold thought his team might be over the hump when it jumped out to a 56-51 lead in the first overtime.
“I was feeling good at the start of the first overtime,” Nold said. “It was a game of runs, mini-runs. We had defensive breakdowns in the overtimes, and they got some good looks. We didn't execute our offense very well in overtime. A couple too many turnovers (four) when every posssession is huge.”