In one of the more exciting games of the season that went back and forth, the Ogden Tigers defeated the Stansbury Stallions after Niko Chacon’s 3-pointer at the buzzer hit off the rim to give Ogden a 56-55 win.
With Stansbury leading 54-53 in the final 20 seconds, Ogden’s Larry Rodriguez went to the free-throw line. He made the first free throw to tie the game, and then he missed the second. Ogden’s Spencer Smith, who scored 26 points in the contest, snagged the rebound but missed the put-back layup. But then McKay Smith grabbed the second offensive rebound of the possession and scored the eventual winning bucket with 13.6 seconds left on the clock.
Stansbury’s Stone Tia came down the other end and was fouled. He went to the line and made just 1-of-2 free throws, but then Ogden came down the other end and missed two free throws after a foul by Taylor Graves with 7.8 seconds remaining. That’s when Stansbury worked through the Ogden full-court press to set up a contested 3-pointer by Chacon that missed and ended the game.
“It would be one thing if no one was invested or working hard, but it’s tough to swallow when you’re working hard and give yourself a chance,” Stansbury coach Ryan Harris said. “That’s sports. That’s the thing we always seem to have is the effort. It’s disappointing that you have the effort there, but we just didn’t quite close the deal.”
The Stallions (5-9, 1-3 in Region 11) had timeouts remaining if they wanted to set up a play, but Harris said he likes his kids to get out and run on the fastbreak when given the opportunity, and with the two missed free throws he felt that presented a better opportunity to score.
The Tigers (3-8, 1-2 in Region 11) had firm control of the game in the third quarter after Spencer Smith hit his third 3-pointer of the game. That gave Ogden a 41- 33 lead, and its full-court press looked too tough to penetrate. But Stansbury managed to chip away at the lead to end the quarter at 42-37, and it carried over into the fourth with a 3-pointer by junior guard Tom Griffith that made the score 42-40. Griffith then found Graves to tie things up at 42, and then Griffith dished off to junior guard Tanner Barton to give Stansbury the lead, topping the 11-1 run with 6:13 left in the game.
Both teams went back and forth from then on after a 3-pointer gave the Tigers a 45-44 lead, which was immediately answered by a 3 from Griffith. Tia performed a spin move and put in a layup — a move that Ogden stifled the majority of the contest — to give Stansbury a 50-46 lead, and then Graves found senior guard Ryan Robbins on a basket cut to make the score 52- 49.
The game then moved to the free-throw line, and that’s where things changed. Robbins knocked in two free throws, and then Ogden knocked in two free throws to hold serve. Then on the next possession, Spencer Smith put in a shot to cut Stansbury’s lead to 54-53. Stansbury got to the freethrow line on its next possession, but a lane violation wiped out the second free throw after the first free throw missed. That provided Ogden the opportunity to take the lead and get the win. Although the Stallions made just as many free throws as the Tigers on just one extra attempt, the missed free throws at the end cost them the game.
“We were tired,” Harris said. “A couple of our better free throw shooters are leg shooters. You can tell everybody was tired, especially trying to come back you’re working extra hard.”
Stansbury’s now had losses at home to Grantsville and Ogden, so if there is any hope of making the playoffs, games will have to be won on the road.
“It is tough because you’ve got to play all the better on the road,” Harris said. “We’re capable. I think we’re capable of being very competitive at anyone’s place. Our guys are capable. At our peak, when we’re really playing well, we’re really good.”