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Roosevelt's buzzer-beater sinks Scappoose

Roughriders outscore Scappoose by eight in the final quarter and win by one


by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Senior Mitch Davis gets the ball knocked from his hands on the way to the basket against Roosevelt on Wednesday evening. Davis finished with a game-high 17 points in the loss.The Indians might not get the image of Kimane Domena's floater out of their nightmares for weeks. It was that kind of night for Scappoose, back and fourth, only to lose in the most painful way possible: a desperation leaner, and a kind bounce to send the Roughriders home happy.

But for Roosevelt, who with the victory moved to 4-11 and broke a three-game losing streak, it couldn't have ended better. Down two with just over 46 seconds remaining, the Rough Riders dished to junior Anthony Alioth in the corner, who promptly swished a three to put Roosevelt up 51-50. The Indians stole the ball and took the advantage right back, but Roosevelt still had time to respond.

And respond they did. Scappoose got a pair of misses from inside the paint, but couldn't nab a rebound. The ball fell back in the Roughriders' hands, and Domena's last-second shot dropped, drawing the visiting fans onto the floor in celebration, winners of a 53-52 heart-throbbing victory.

Afterward, Scappoose Head Coach Rahim Tufts struggled find one single reason for the loss. Turnovers and missed free throws made his short list, but he also turned the eye on himself.

“When they hit that three, we were in a trapping defense. Maybe go more of a prevent,” he said. “I mean, on a one point game, you're always questioning your coaching decisions. It was an awesome game. They hit a tough floater over a six-eight guy that bounced in, so I've got to give 'em credit.”

Though the teams were drastically different from one another, they were somehow evenly matched. Roosevelt, with their high-flying individual athletes, was forced to fight hard for any headway against the Indian zone. The more cohesive team, Scappoose held up under the ferocious defensive pressure in the fourth quarter. It's a change, and a welcome one, from the team who took the floor at the beginning of the season, and if the original contest date hadn't been snowed out back in December, the result might not have been as close.

“I was really proud of the way our guys stayed composed,” said Tufts, “where as at the beginning of the year, we wouldn't have been that way. Our guys have matured.”

It was a far cry from the second game of the season, when the Indians crumbled under similar defensive pressure in their loss to St. Helens. Though they didn't get the victory over Roosevelt – and you simply won't, on some nights – the Indians proved they had made strides in just about every way.

“It's spacing and guys getting in the right spots, but the biggest thing is just mentally,” said Tufts. “Just keeping yourself composed and staying calm. There's no reason to panic. We've drilled that and drilled that and practiced and practiced it and talked about it.”

Tufts knew Roosevelt liked to get up and down the floor, and that the best chance the Indians had to win would be to keep the contest from becoming a track meet.

“Our goal was to control the tempo,” said Tufts. “We said 'hey, they're gonna come trap. Just work it, work it. Get down the floor slow, we don't want to get into an up-and-down game with them.' Just mentally, their approach was that they didn't need to rush.”

For most of the game, that method worked. Scappoose came back from a four point deficit to take a brief lead in the second quarter, and were up by five heading into the fourth, thanks to some alert defense and solid finishing ability on the break.

However, it was just Roosevelt's night. The Alioth trey and the prayer from Domena were both fitting: the game was a heart-stopper, and so was the finish. The students, in their loudest and rowdiest effort yet, chanted their pride as the defeated Indians gathered by the bench. Perhaps it will be those words, not the memory of the ball rolling around the rim in slow motion, that will stick in the boys' minds. At least until the next home game.

SUMMARY

Roosevelt 53, Scappoose 52

RSV 16 8 12 17 – 53

SCA 12 12 19 9 – 52

Roosevelt 53: Spires 2, Bibiano 9, Domena 8, Bradford 15, Alioth 5, Waters 9, Fontleroy 2

Scappoose 52: Backus 1, Wendelschafer 2, McNabb 3, Ford 11, Loss 4, Davis 17, Marcantonio 2, Johnson 10, Sprute 2