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Wild finish lands Cougars a spot in the playoffs

Clackamas CC hits two shots in the last five seconds to down Mt. Hood in overtime


by: ESTACADA NEWS: DAVID BALL - Clackamas CC forward Grant Sitton stares down a defender. He hit the winning shot with 1.7 seconds to play last week over Mt. Hood CC.OREGON CITY — The Mt. Hood CC men’s basketball team had everything going right late in their game Wednesday night at rival Clackamas CC. The Saints hadn’t trailed at all during overtime, and a Landon Rushton free throw put them up 74-72 with just 10 seconds to play.

When Clackamas came out of a timeout and guard Tim Lott dashed inside the 3-point line it seemed the game would have one of two outcomes. A make and the teams headed to a second overtime. A miss and Mt. Hood would get the win.

What the Saints didn’t account for was Clackamas making two shots in the game’s final 5.5 seconds.

Lott got to the rim and converted a layin in heavy traffic to tie the score. In their rush to get the ball back in play, the Saints failed to see all the white shirts in the backcourt. The Cougars’ Grant Sitton picked off the inbounds pass and let fly with a 15-foot fadeaway that ripped through the net as the buzzer sounded to give Clackamas the 76-74 victory.

Clackamas maintained a slim lead through most of the second half, but missed free throws kept the door open. Mt. Hood eventually slipped through when Rushton drove inside, gave a pump fake and converted a three-point play to tie the score 64-64 with 17.2 seconds left in regulation.

Clackamas had a chance for the win, but Spencer Bankofier’s 15-footer rattled the rim and popped out.

The Saints started fast in overtime, building a 69-64 lead after center Mac Johnson drew a triple-team effort in the post only to pass out top to Rushton, who buried an open 3.

Mt. Hood would retain a one-possession gap for most of the five-minute session before the Cougars unlikely heroics before the buzzer.

Lott led all players with 23 points, while Sitton added 22 for the Cougars.

The Cougars (16-11) clinched a spot into the Northwest championship tournament in Kennewick, Wash., with a 72-71 win at Linn-Benton on Saturday. Bankhofier went 6 for 8 (.750) from 3-point range to lead the team with 22 points, while Sitton had 21.

Clackamas, the South’s No. 2 seed, opens the playoffs at 12 p.m. Saturday against Highline.




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