Marcus Larson/News-Register##
Michael Duncan, right, celebrates with Josh Wart and Trevor Smith after sinking the game-winning three-pointer against Dayton in the semifinal contest.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## Michael Duncan, right, celebrates with Josh Wart and Trevor Smith after sinking the game-winning three-pointer against Dayton in the semifinal contest.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##
Michael Duncan celebrates with team members and classmates after sinking the game-winning three-pointer against Dayton in the semifinal contest.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## Michael Duncan celebrates with team members and classmates after sinking the game-winning three-pointer against Dayton in the semifinal contest.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##
Michael Duncan pulls up to shoot the game-winning three-pointer over Dayton s Lukas Findley.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## Michael Duncan pulls up to shoot the game-winning three-pointer over Dayton's Lukas Findley.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##
The Amity bench celebrates a clutch Warrior three-pointer late in the game against the Dayton Pirates.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## The Amity bench celebrates a clutch Warrior three-pointer late in the game against the Dayton Pirates.
By Logan Brandon • Sports Editor • 

Duncan's buzzer-beater stuns Pirates, sends Warriors to state championship

COOS BAY – Move over, Cinderella.

 

The Amity boys' basketball team is now the ultimate underdog story.

 

Today, the Warriors continued their magical run through the Class 3A OSAA State Tournament with a 38-37 rivalry and semifinal win over Dayton.

 

With the victory, Amity has beaten both the second seed (Santiam Christian) and third seed in the state tournament by a combined two points; Amity defeated the Eagles last night, 60-59.

 

Senior guard Michael Duncan enshrined himself into the fairytale story with a game-winning, buzzer-beating three-pointer to lift his Warrior team to the state championship.

 

With Amity trailing 37-35 and 5.8 seconds remaining, Duncan received the inbound pass and raced up the court. Speeding past Braeden Nowlin and Jacob Morales, Duncan, with Lukas Findley defending the attempt, fired off a running trey and scorched the net.

 

Dayton's players could only look on in disbelief.

 

“Even I was shocked it went in. I mean, the whole point was to get it to Josh (Wart) to tie it up, but when I saw there was one second left I knew I had to shoot it. I felt confident taking, but I had to lean, so I don't know how it went in – I just prayed it would go in and it did,” remembered Duncan.

 

Amity fans and Duncan's teammates swarmed him in jubilation.

 

Duncan also canned a 30-foot three with nine seconds remaining to cut Dayton's lead to 36-35. Freshman Tyler Spink split a pair of free throws on the next Pirate possession, setting the stage for Duncan's final heroics.

 

Earlier in the contest, the Pirates grabbed a 14-7 lead in the first quarter. Senior point guard Braeden Nowlin poured in an energetic eight minutes, scoring six points, dishing three assists and stealing three passes.

 

Amity scored the first five points of the second quarter. Keenan Graham drained a corner three and added a free throw, before Josh Wart cut the deficit to one with a left-handed finish.

 

Dayton tallied the next five points as Findley drilled a three and Jaysen Howard dropped in a baseline jump shot.

 

Graham trimmed the Pirate advantage again. He drove hard to the cup for a lay-in with 49 seconds left, then made one of two foul shots with four seconds remaining.

 

The Pirates entered the break with a 19-16 advantage.

 

In the third, the Warriors outscored their Yamhill County adversaries, 9-3. Findley was the only Pirate to find the bottom of the net in the period, as Dayton encountered shooting woes.

 

Duncan hit his first of three deep shots to put Amity up 22-21, but Findley knotted the score with a free throw.

 

Wart, with a finger roll and a foul shot, handed the Warriors a 25-22 edge entering the fourth quarter.

 

Dawson Ashley recaptured the Pirate lead with 4:30 left on a hanging lay-up. Parr and Spink traded shots, before Parr nailed a straightaway three to put Amity up 30-28.

 

Findley answered with a three of his own, but Wart retaliated with a two foul shots. Ashley and Nowlin combined for four free throws with less than a minute remaining, placing Dayton ahead 35-32.

 

The final 30 seconds became a roller coaster of emotions for both sides as Duncan hit his two clutch threes and propelled Amity to its first state finals appearance since 1938.

 

Duncan led the Warriors with 12 points on four made threes, while Wart (11 points, nine rebounds) and Graham (10 points, two steals) joined him in double-figures.

 

Findley tallied a game-high 16 points, but the Pirates shot 13-45 overall in the loss.

 

“I'm just so proud of the way we fought,” said Amity head coach Scott Nelson. “I told our guys to keep believing and focus on one play at a time. It wasn't pretty offensively, but I told them that it wasn't pretty for those guys either.”

 

Amity aims for its third consecutive upset when it plays number-one seed De La Salle North Catholic tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Marshfield High School's Pirate Palace.

 

Nelson added, “I'm so happy for the community that came out to support us. It's awesome the support that we've got. The joy of the fans coming out on the court meant a lot, especially when you beat your rival.”

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