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Granada Hills Pays Big Price for a Missed OT Free Throw

February 27, 1986|JOHANNES TESSELAAR | Times Staff Writer

Gary Gray sat in the Granada Hills locker room, thinking of what might have been.

"In that situation, we thought I should be the one at the line," the Highlanders' 6-8 junior center said. "I had made all my free throws before that."

With one second left in overtime, Gray went to the line, his team trailing Jefferson by one point in Wednesday night's City 3-A quarterfinal basketball game at Granada Hills.

Gray, who finished with a game-high 22 points, had made all 10 of his free throws when he stepped to the line for the front end of a one-and-one.

His shot hit the rim, but fell out, giving the Democrats a 58-57 upset win over the second-ranked Highlanders.

The Jefferson fans stormed the court and mobbed their team. Gray slumped to the ground and lay motionless.

"I just don't know what happened," he said later. "It felt good, but it just didn't go in."

Granada Hills, which had led by three points with 58 seconds left, missed three front ends of one-and-one free throw opportunities to let its season slip away.

First, Sam Puathasnanon missed a free throw with the Highlanders ahead, 57-54. With 43 seconds left, Jefferson's Derrick Williams made two free throws to cut the Highlanders' lead to 57-56.

Puathasnanon was fouled again with 24 seconds left, but again missed from the line.

Five seconds later, Williams made two more pressure free throws to put the Democrats ahead, 58-57. Williams, who led his team with 19 shots, was the only Jefferson starter left on the floor. The other four had fouled out.

After Williams gave Jefferson the lead, the Highlanders came down for a final shot, but Puathasnanon threw the ball away. Ernest Nicolis was fouled with eight seconds left.

But Nicolis missed his free throw, giving Granada Hills another chance.

Puathasnanon drove the lane, but had his shot blocked. Gray grabbed his 20th rebound of the game and went up for a shot. He missed, but in the scramble for the ball, was fouled.

The clock showed two seconds left when Gray was fouled. The clock had jumped up to nine seconds after the miss by Nicolis, so the officials decided to knock a second off when Gray went to the line.

Granada Hills, which trailed by eight points most of the game, tied it with nine seconds left in regulation on Terrell Smith's 13-footer. Jefferson came down for a final shot, but David Phillips missed a 15-footer with four seconds left. The fourth quarter ended with the teams tied at 53.

That Granada Hills was able to even send the game into overtime was remarkable, considering the Highlanders' first half. They made just 17% of their shots, falling behind, 29-21, at halftime.

Jefferson (13-10) still held a six-point lead entering the final quarter, but Granada Hills (18-4) was able to forge a tie at 45 on Dennis Bishop's two free throws with 5:17 left. Bishop finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds.

"You've got to make your free throws," Granada Hills Coach Bob Johnson said. "Three missed one-and-ones. I guess the pressure got to us."

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