The motto for Desert Pines’ boys basketball team is “more,” be it made shots, rebounds or hustle plays.
For Greg Burrell on Monday night, it meant one more chance.
Burrell, who had missed two free throws with 9.2 seconds left that could have given the Jaguars the lead, took advantage of that chance when he got it.
Burrell rebounded a missed free throw and streaked to the other end of the floor to hit the go-ahead layup with two seconds to play as Desert Pines knocked off visiting Coronado, 65-64.
“I missed those two free throws and I had to tell my team, ‘Just stay composed and trust me,’” Burrell said. “’He’s going to miss these two, and I’m going to get us a bucket,’ and that’s what I did.”
Burrell missed the two free throws with his team trailing 64-63, and Coronado’s Ifiok Peter grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 7.4 seconds to play.
But Peter missed both foul shots, and Burrell was able to go the length of the floor for the game-winner for the Jaguars (15-3, 6-1 Class 5A Southern League).
“That just goes to show how all these guys are,” Desert Pines coach Daimar Harris said. “They find a way to get it done. Whether it’s by 10 or by one, they find a way to get it done. This is a very, very fierce group of competitors, and they hate losing.”
Coronado’s Sebastian Mack scored the game’s first eight points as the Cougars (13-9, 4-3) took control early. They led 33-21 at the half before Desert Pines started to take advantage of turnovers and second-chance points to chip away at the lead. The Jaguars scored 18 second-chance points and 17 points off turnovers in the second half.
“We hang our hats on making it hard for teams to score,” Harris said. “Whether it’s zone or man, these guys just don’t like giving up baskets.”
The Jaguars took their first lead at 52-51 on a basket by Isiaac Boykin with 5:12 to play. The game featured four ties and four lead changes from that point.
Evan Tatum scored all 18 of his points in the second half to help lead the charge for Desert Pines. Tatum gave up several inches to 6-foot 11-inch Coronado center Tee Bartlett, but Tatum used his quickness to secure some inside baskets.
“That’s who he is,” Harris said of Tatum. “He’s been a horse for us all year. He’s dialed in and he’s sacrificed some shots that he normally takes to get better shots for other guys. So he’s definitely bought into the goal.”
Boykin added 18 points, and Burrell scored 10 for the Jaguars. Damonte Duhart added 12 rebounds for Desert Pines, which remain in the hunt for the league title with four games remaining.
“We just came out with that dog mentality,” Burrell said.
Mack, who has signed a letter of intent with UCLA, had 34 points for Coronado. Bartlett added 17 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots.