Heartbreaking overtime loss stuns Stangs: Team’s 11 seniors play final Redmond game | Slideshow

After being ranked in the top 10 for much of the season and having visions of a state-tournament run, the Redmond High boys' basketball season ended far too soon on Tuesday night after a stunning 45-42 overtime loss to Roosevelt in the consolation semifinals of the 4A Kingco Tournament at Juanita High School.

Mustang senior Leslie Ellis drives to the hoop and draws contact while fellow senior Jason Harrington (left) watches. Ellis and Harrington both had older brothers (Will and Chris) that started for Redmond’s 5th-place state team in 2009

Mustang senior Leslie Ellis drives to the hoop and draws contact while fellow senior Jason Harrington (left) watches. Ellis and Harrington both had older brothers (Will and Chris) that started for Redmond’s 5th-place state team in 2009

After being ranked in the top 10 for much of the season and having visions of a state-tournament run, the Redmond High boys’ basketball season ended far too soon on Tuesday night after a stunning 45-42 overtime loss to Roosevelt in the consolation semifinals of the 4A Kingco Tournament at Juanita High School.

But that’s basketball, and after an emotional post-game meeting in the home locker room during which head coach Jeff Larson said goodbye to his team’s 11 seniors, he was able to put everything in perspective.

“It honestly started about five or six years ago,” said Larson on the incredible camaraderie between his upperclassmen. “We may not be playing basketball anymore, but we’re forever family.”

 

A DEFENSIVE CHESS MATCH

Unlike many teams in the league, Roosevelt is known for its ability to come up with defensive stops and hold teams to low point totals, as opposed to a high-powered offense.

Case in point was Roosevelt’s upset of No. 3 Skyline last week, which ended in a 39-38 Roughrider win.

Tuesday’s game was of the same mold, with both teams struggling to work the ball inside and the Roughriders scrapping to a 23-15 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, however, Redmond found an edge in senior Jason Harrington, who shot 3 of 4 in the period and capped off a 9-0 Redmond run as the Mustangs took a 28-27 lead going into the fourth.

In the final minute, Roosevelt guard Turner Huletz nailed a clutch 3-pointer to give the Roughriders a 36-34 lead, and with the clock ticking down, Harrington came literally an inch away from sending the Mustangs away with a win.

As the clock ticked down, the 6-foot-7-inch forward fired a long, off-balance shot from the edge of the arc that went through the net, sending the Redmond fans into a frenzy.

After a moment of confusion, the officials ruled the shot a two-pointer, sending the game into overtime.

“The refs got it right, his left foot was on the line,” Larson admitted. “Roosevelt’s solid, they play solid defense, we knew it was going to be that kind of a game.”

In the overtime period, the Mustangs had another chance to win, down by one and inbounding the ball from the baseline with six seconds left, but Roosevelt came up with one more big defensive play to cause a game-ending — and season-ending — turnover.

“We kind of knew what they were doing,” said Roosevelt coach Bart Brandenburg. “We switched everything around a little bit … looked at their second set and got a read on that, and kids made plays.”

Added Larson, “They were able to make one more play than us.”

 

BEYOND BASKETBALL

As the dejected Mustangs filed out of the Juanita High locker room, not many dry eyes could be seen as 11 of the team’s 13 rostered players came to the realization that it was time to hang up their Redmond High uniforms for good.

After the game, Brandenburg had nothing but compliments for the Mustangs program and Larson, congratulating them on a fine season.

“They’re a tough team,” said the seventh-year Roosevelt coach. “That team scares me as much as any team in Kingco or the state. They’re big, strong, got good shooters, and they’re well-coached. They got everything, they really do.”

As much as the sting of a season-ending loss hurt on Tuesday night, Larson said that the bond between his players goes far beyond the hardwood.

“These guys truly care about each other, hang out in and outside of school,” he said. “We’ve had talks about graduation, and they know a lot of them are going their separate ways. Basketball is just one of the things that brings them together.”

The Mustangs ended the season with a 16-7 overall record, which included a 10-4 mark in 4A Kingco league play. Harrington, whose older brother Chris was on the Mustangs’ 2008-09 state team that placed fifth, finished the season fourth in scoring in the league, averaging 18.8 points per game.

To view and/or purchase more great action photos from the Mustangs’ final game of the 2011-12 season, visit photographer Matt Campbell’s website at http://www.sportspixs.com/rhs_basketball02142012


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