BOULDER -- Asked if the spot deep in the left corner -- the very spot Landon Taliaferro used to end Kent Denver's undefeated season -- is his most comfortable spot on the floor, and the freshman from Shining Mountain gave the sort of answer typical of the game's best sharpshooters.
"Everywhere along the 3 is my spot," Taliaferro said.
He certainly will get no argument from the Sun Devils.
In a game that more than lived up to its billing, Class 1A No. 1 Shining Mountain used the clutch late shooting of Taliaferro and senior Billy Hussey to outlast Class 3A No. 1 Kent Denver, recording a thrilling 76-72 win in overtime.
Taliaferro and Hussey combined to go 4 for 4 from 3-point range in the extra session, allowing the host Lions to remain undefeated (13-0) while handing Kent (11-1) its first loss of the season.
"The team is No. 1 -- team, team, team," Hussey said. "I'm going to do whatever it takes for my team to win on that scoreboard. If I have to knock those 3's down to get us on top, I'm going to do that for my team.
"This is just amazing. I'm going to get in my car and get a massive burrito with my team and celebrate. That's the celebration. I'm going to get a burrito and maybe some pancakes."
The teams traded leads throughout the contest, but Shining Mountain was able to use three straight 3-pointers from Andrew Bremner, Garrett Johnston, and Alex Beal early in the fourth quarter to gain momentum. Beal's 3-pointer began an 8-0 burst by Shining Mountain that gave the Lions a nine-point lead with 4 minutes remaining.
Kent, however, stormed back with a 10-0 run behind the hot shooting of junior Mike Hanley, who had scored just one point before draining four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and overtime. A Taliaferro 3-pointer gave Shining Mountain a 57-55 lead with 44.8 seconds to play, but a bucket by Kent's Brannon Jones sent the game to overtime.
"It was a close game, but we knew we could pull through," Taliaferro said. "Even against a great team like Kent Denver."
Kent Denver took the first lead in overtime, but Taliaferro's first 3-pointer of the extra session put the Lions ahead for good. The Sun Devils kept making enough shots to stay within one possession, but the 3-pointers by Taliaferro and Hussey combined with a 7-for-8 overtime performance at the free-throw line by Johnston kept Kent at bay.
While the victory marked one of the biggest wins in years for the Lions, a scene that included the student section storming the court after the final buzzer, Shining Mountain coach Enoch Miller was quick to keep the win in perspective.
"It's just another game, and I mean that," said Miller, whose club went 11 for 17 from 3-point range. "It's not even about peaking too early or anything like that. It's just that all the way through we've taken it one game at a time. We said before the game there might be a lot of people in the stands who don't believe we can win this game, but we believed we could win this game. We never doubted we could win."
Johnston led four players in double figures for Shining Mountain with 19 points, followed by Colin Cantwell with 18 points. Beal scored 11 of his 13 points after halftime, while Taliaferro finished with 15 points on five 3-pointers.
Josh Repine led Kent Denver with 19 points.
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Shining Mountain 76, Kent Denver 72
At Shining Mountain HS
KENT DENVER (11-1)
Boatman 3 3-5 9, Repine 8 2-5 19, Pettyjohn 1 0-1 2, Hanley 4 2-3 14, Lane 6 0-0 12, White 2 0-0 4, Jones 6 0-0 12, Padgett 0 0-0 0, Payne 0 0-0 0. Totals 30 7-14 72.
SHINING MOUNTAIN (13-0)
Bremner 2 0-0 5, Cantwell 7 4-6 18, Beal 6 0-2 13, Feigal 0 0-0 0, Johnston 5 7-9 19, Hussey 2 0-0 6, Taliaferro 5 0-0 15. Totals 27 11-17 76.
Score by quarters:
Kent Denver 11 12 13 21 15 -- 72
Shining Mountain 14 9 15 19 19 -- 76
3-point field goals -- Kent Denver (5): Hanley 4, Repine; Shining Mountain (11): Taliaferro 5, Johnston 2, Hussey 2, Bremner, Beal. Total fouls -- Kent Denver 19, Shining Mountain 12. Fouled out -- Boatman, Pettyjohn, Cantwell.