BRUSH — Everybody in the Brush gym knew exactly what was coming.
Both Genoa-Hugo and Longmont Christian executed the final 4.7 seconds the way their coaches had drawn it up moments before during a timeout, but it was the underdog Pirates that executed just a little bit better.
Genoa-Hugo, on a buzzer-beating lay-in by senior Trey Boger, punched their first ticket to the Class 1A state tournament since 1994 with a stunning 51-49 overtime victory over the Warriors in the Region 2 finale.
“I just wanted to see what kind of defense they were going to run, and we ran a play that we had run before,” said Pirates coach Jason Smith, whose team enters the state tournament next week in Greeley with a 16-8 record. “I thought maybe we could get it to work one more time, and it worked.”
Said Longmont Christian coach Myron Huey: “That’s the very play they use on their offense that we had worked so hard on defending. They just executed it. It’s a tough loss, but things happen and that’s basketball.”
It was a bitter pill to swallow for a Warriors team that at one point in the third quarter was having its way with th Pirates, up 32-22.
“We had a chance to put it away, and we just didn’t do it,” Huey said.
The momentum swung in favor of Genoa-Hugo on back-to-back 3-pointers from guard Caid Smith — who had done the same thing the night before against Stratton/Liberty with four big 3’s — that brought his team back to within two possessions.
Longmont Christian tried desperately to get the ball inside to 6-foot-7 Dominic Puchino, who had a huge size advantage, but the Pirates swarmed to him often, double- and triple-teaming the Warriors sophomore.
Still Puchino persevered, scoring 10 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and was instrumental in getting his team to overtime.
“You get the ball and you have four guys on you, you can’t really do anything with it,” Puchino said. “We just couldn’t get in any sort of offensive flow this game and it was probably one of the worst we played all season.”
With over three minutes left in regulation, Genoa-Hugo took a 44-40 lead, but Puchino scored twice in the final minutes to force overtime. The Warriors had a chance to win it in the finals seconds, but with 4.2 seconds, Puchino was called for an offensive foul.
In the extra period, Michael Voigt, who finished with 17 points, gave Longmont Christian the lead with his second of two overtime field goals with one minute left.
But it was Boger, who was the hero, scoring the decisive three points over the final 31 seconds that made the difference.
“These guys are true warriors and we have traveled so many miles this year,” said Huey, whose team practiced and played their home games in Windsor. “They’ve given us everything we’ve asked.”
GENOA-HUGO 51, LONGMONT CHRISTIAN 49, OT
Smith 4 9-12 19, Knutson 1 0-0 2, L. Miller 0 0-0 0, B. Miller 5 5-5 15, Tidquist 1 0-0 2, Boger 5 1-2 11, Hinton 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 15-19 51.
LONGMONT CHRISTIAN (16-7)
Puchino 9 7-12 25, Shellenberger 1 1-2 3, L. Saunders 0 2-2 2, Azar 1 0-0 2, Holst 0 0-0 0, Voigt 7 1-2 17, Eldred 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 11-18 49.
Score by quarters:
3-point field goals — Genoa-Hugo (2): Smith; Longmont Christian (2): Voigt. Total fouls — Genoa-Hugo 15, Longmont Christian 19. Fouled out — B. Miller.