Rise and fall
The lane was partially blocked with the bodies of Timberwolves, but that didn’t stop Matthew Long from driving as directly as he could to the basket.
Long, however, misjudged the force required to put the ball in the basket he stood a few feet away from. He added too much. The ball caromed off the glass, into a sea of arms.
Vince Boumann emerged from those arms, as McMinnville’s 6-foot-7 junior post is wont to do. Boumann fell back into the sea of arms, unfurling his own in a last-gasp shot attempt.
Off the backboard. Off the rim.
Onto the floor.
Tualatin 62, McMinnville 61. Final, and overtime.
A large and excitable crowd ran through the gamut of emotions over 36 minutes of game play in The Furnace. It left stunned, unsure of how exactly to feel.
“We got it right at the basket, right where we wanted it,” Grizzlies coach Willie Graham said. “You’re not going to get that (foul) call at the end of the game.”
To think that they needed it. Senior Gage Gubrud went off for 25 points and five steals, including a pair of dunks that brought The Furnace to its feet. Boumann fought the arms all night but finished with 10 points, including a pair of free throws in overtime to keep his team in the game.
Junior point guard Tanner Autencio, the dignified distributor, finished with six rebounds, six assists and three steals and harassed Tualatin guards Nathan Senger and Joey Fishback until the buzzer told him he couldn’t.
Points? Autencio had three. Each one was vital.
“He played with more confidence tonight,” Graham said of Autencio. “It was good to see. I think he’s done a great job for us.”
Autencio and Gubrud fueled an early McMinnville advantage by entering the Timberwolves’ passing lanes, stealing the ball and beating Tualatin down the floor in transition. Gubrud wowed the home crowd with a steal and dunk at the other end with 2 minutes, 20 seconds left in the first quarter. He stole another pass on the Timberwolves’ next possession, with the crowd ready to explode – and missed the dunk.
Matthew Long collected the rebound and finished the play. The Grizzlies (9-2, 0-1 Class 6A Pacific Conference) forced nine first-half turnovers and entered halftime with a 29-24 lead.
“It was something in the first half that was great to see,” Graham said. “We just didn’t take advantage of it enough.”
Jacob Bennett demonstrated how tenuous Mac’s halftime lead truly was. The 6-foot-5 junior lifted Tualatin (5-6, 1-0) with 18 of his game-high 27 points in the second half. Bennett went 4-for-9 from three-point range in regulation, outshooting the entire Grizzlies team (2-of-13) to that point.
“He kind of has unlimited range,” Graham said.
Bennett’s last triple, with 2:09 remaining in the game, put the Timberwolves ahead 54-49. Gubrud responded with a layup on a hard drive to the basket; Fishback fouled him on the play, and Gubrud sank the free throw. Gubrud then hit the game-tying basket with 24 seconds left.
Tualatin executed efficiently in the overtime period, going up 62-58 on a pair of free throws by Senger with 25.7 seconds remaining. McMinnville raced the ball down the court, and Bryce Anderson spotted up for an open three-pointer in the left corner, near the Grizzlies’ bench.
Anderson hit the shot with 12 seconds remaining, and the crowd roared.
“He’s got the confidence to step up and take that shot,” Graham said.
McMinnville pressed following the basket and a timeout, and Fishback turned the ball over in front of the Grizzlies’ bench with 6.1 seconds remaining.
Enough time for two shots at a victory.
Mac hosts Hillsboro tonight at 6:45 p.m. before facing Century Friday night in Hillsboro.