For the second time in the last four days fans of a local basketball team stormed the court after the home team pulled out a huge win.
Only this time it wasn't at CU, it was at Boulder High School as the fourth-seeded Panthers survived the visiting fifth-seeded Far Northeast Warriors 48-45 in overtime during a Class 5A second-round playoff game.
"Shout out to our fans," said Landon Taliaferro, a senior swingman who scored 24 points to pace Boulder. "Our fans are great, they're always there to support (us)."
Taliaferro was key in getting the Panthers (18-6) to overtime, as he seemed to come up with a big shot every time the team needed it. He hit a big 3 midway through the first quarter that ended a 14-0 run by FNE (18-7), then completed a 4-point play — that included an NBA-range 3 — late in the third that gave Boulder a 29-28 lead.
His biggest shot may have came as time wound down at the end of regulation, as he banked in a running jumper that knotted the score at 43-43 with 22.8 seconds left.
"Landon was huge for us," Boulder coach Jack Clarke said. "He was just huge."
Taliaferro was almost the goat in the OT, however, as he attempted to make a lazy pass at the top of the key that Jovan Nelson, a spectacular freshman point guard on the Warriors, stepped in front of and raced downcourt for a layup that gave FNE a 45-44 lead with a minute to play.
"It happens," said Taliaferro, who hit on 5-of-9 3-point attempts. "That was a bad play on my part, a bad turnover, but next play you find a way to win the game."
That mistake didn't rattle Boulder, however, as they came back immediately and got a tough post up bucket from Jack Boyle with 41 seconds left to take the lead for good.
Boyle, who only had one other bucket through the entire contest, pulled down an offensive board following a missed 3 and went right back up over the Warriors' 6-4 Aaris Bonds despite coming down at an awkward angle to the rim.
"We always just say make your 'one more play,'" said Boyle, who finished with five points. "For some guys, that's one more 3. For other guys, that's one more rebound. For me, I knew I needed to get in there, get a rebound, and then finish it. You never can give up, you always need to stay pretty even-keeled and focused until the end."
Taliaferro, for his part, knew one of this teammates would pick him up after the turnover.
"We've been through a lot together, made a lot of mistakes together," Taliaferro said. "When someone makes a mistake like that, all you can do is pick them up."
Clarke said a key was the team surviving the initial onslaught when the Warriors went up 14-2 with a series of fortunate plays by FNE.
"They got a couple of offensive rebounds, and they hit two 3s," Clarke said. "We were able to keep it at 14-2, re-settle in and get some buckets and get some stops.
"We started to play a little freer in the second half."
With the win, Boulder moves on to play top-seeded and defending state champion Overland (21-3) in Wednesday's Sweet 16. And while the Trailblazers will be favored to move on, Clarke said the work his team put in during the offseason could be the difference between posting an upset and going home.
"We have a big test on Wednesday," Clarke said. "But hey, you never know, right?"
Boulder 48, Far Northeast 45 (OT)
At Boulder High School
FAR NORTHEAST (18-7)
Jovan Nelson 3 1-2 8, Sekou Cisse 3 0-0 7, Malek Bar 5 0-0 13, Sindou Cisse 3 0-0 6, Manel Ayol 2 1-2 5, Aaris Bonds 2 2-3 6. Totals 18 4-7 45.
Luke Wilson 2 2-2 7, Landon Taliaferro 9 9-12 24, Savoy Carl 0 1-2 1, Sam Kirk 2 0-0 5, Peter Chopra 1 0-1 2, Bill Di Scipio 0 4-4 4, Jack Boyle 2 1-2 5, Ben Posthumus 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 9-12 48.
Score by quarters:FNE Warriors 16 4 8 15 2 — 45
Boulder 10 5 14 14 5 — 48
3-point field goals — FNE (5) Bar 3, Nelson, Se. Cisse; Boulder (7) Taliaferro 5, Wilson, Kirk.
Feel free to contact me with questions, suggestions or story ideas at 303-473-1315 or email@example.com