BBK: DP stuns San Marcos on Williams’ layup at buzzer

Jayson Williams scored on a driving layup at the buzzer to lift Dos Pueblos to a stunning 41-39 win over San Marcos in a Channel League boys basketball game Wednesday night at Sovine Gym.

San Marcos had tied the score at 39-39 on a 3-pointer from the left corner by Wesley Ghan-Gibson. The Royals then called timeout to set up their defense.

The Chargers barely got the ball inbounded to Derek Abbott in the backcourt. He immediately handed it off to Williams, who switched from his left hand to his right, drove to the basket and flipped the ball off the glass and into the basket as time expired.

“We work on that play,” DP coach Joe Zamora said of Williams’ last-second rush to the basket. “It broke down a little bit, I’ll be honest with you. The kids have gone over it, they know what it is, so it was like second nature because we count down in practice. And they did it, to the basket. We don’t want to settle. We’ve been settling too much this year on the perimeter shot. I said I want you to go all the way to the basket when you get it. (Williams) did and he made it for us. It’s a big statement for him.”

Williams said he was glad he could come through for the team.

“It was a rough game for me, but my team stayed confident in me and I stayed confident within myself as a sophomore,” he said. “I made the last shot, but it was a team victory.”

When the ball went through the hoop, delirious Dos Pueblos students stormed the court to celebrate the heart-stopping victory over their crosstown rivals.

It’s the first Channel League win for DP (5-9,1-2), while San Marcos (11-5) dropped its second league game.

“I think we were prepared and we knew what we were coming up against,” said Abbott, who gave DP its first lead of the game (36-34) when he made a short jumper in the paint with 2:23 left. “We had some really good practices on the way.”

San Marcos tied the score at 36 when Marcos Alvarado and Tyson Miller each made one of two free throws.

The Chargers got the lead back when Abbott drove the lane for a layup and was fouled. He completed the three-point play for a 39-36 advantage with 22 seconds to go.

“It was a mind-blowing experience,” Abbott said of his two clutch shots and free throw.”

Zamora said Abbott’s performance was a reward for all his hard work.

“The kids have nicknamed him ‘Moose’ because he’s big, and strong to the basket,” Zamora said. “He really wants to work hard. He’s on the floor, he’s physical, he wants to get every rebound. He’s just a great kid; he’s a leadership kid, works in robotics, he’s a football player, he’s on the basketball team. He’s just a worker. He stepped up.”

Dos Pueblos frustrated San Marcos with a zone defense. The Royals struggled shooting the ball and had a tough night at the free-throw line as well, making just 8 of 16.

“I could tell we frustrated them a little bit,” said Zamora of the zone defense.
“They weren’t exactly sure how to break it. To hold them under 39 points… We keep saying if we can hold you under 40 points, we’re probably going to be successful.

“To hold them to 39, that was a good night for us.”

San Marcos coach Dave Odell felt his team played too tentative.

“I think it was a bit more about us playing ‘not to lose’ versus playing to win,” he said. “Certain guys seemed really timid in the fourth quarter. This game was a carbon copy of the Buena loss (by two points after leading the whole game). We made only one field goal in the entire fourth quarter. We left 10 points on the table from the free-throw line. We got one point from our three senior leaders in the fourth quarter.”

There were times when the Royals looked like they were going to break the game open. A steal and layup by Bryce Ridenour capped a 7-0 run to start the second quarter, giving San Marcos an 18-8 lead.

But Dos Pueblos crept back, scoring the next eight points. Brandon Burkhardt hit a 3-pointer and scored off an assist from Williams to spark the rally.

Another 3-pointer by Ridenour and a steal and layup by Tyson Miller gave the Royals a 23-17 lead at halftime.

The lead remained at six points (33-27) going into the fourth quarter.

After Ridenour made one of two free throws to put San Marcos up by seven, DP responded with a 3-pointer and a drive to the basket by Dayne Gardiner to pull to within two, 34-32. Anthony Trujillo then fed Burkhardt for a basket to tie the score at 34-34 with 3:31 remaining.

Abbott followed with his short jumper in the paint.

San Marcos, meanwhile, couldn’t knock down shots down the stretch.

“We’ve got to get guys to make plays in those critical points in the game,” Odell said. “I looked at the shots we got in the fourth quarter and they were actually all pretty decent. So, one could say we just missed shots we normally make or the zone impacted us so we missed shots. It’s probably a little of both.”

Odell added: “As I told my guys after the game, we do a lot of talk about strategy but in the end guys have to make basketball plays. DP’s last several points didn’t come off of any tricky play that caught us off guard. It was just their guys stepping up and making basketball plays. In the end, DP made the winning plays and we didn’t. They also got great games from guys you wouldn’t expect and a game-winning shot from a guy who hadn’t scored the entire night. It was certainly their night.”

Said Zamora: “I was really proud of my guys. In a crosstown rivalry, you never really know who’s going to show up, and you know everybody wants that opportunity to be successful. Tonight, some guys came off the bench and did some great things for us.”