By Steve Breazeale
When talking about his team’s 51-45 triple overtime win over San Juan Hills on January 10, Dana Hills boys basketball head coach Tom Desiano mentioned that when two familiar, Sea View League opponents meet, you have throw overall records out the window.
It was easy to peg the Dolphins (14-3, 1-0 league) as favorites before the start of their league opener against the Stallions (8-10, 0-1), a team that has claimed one league victory in the past two seasons.
But after crawling back from an early 18-4 deficit by way of a 16-4 scoring run that extended into the fourth quarter, it was San Juan Hills who put themselves in position to get the last shot. With 15 seconds left in regulation, and the home team down by two, Stallions junior guard Kyle Luna knocked down a wide open baseline jump shot to send the game into its first overtime.
The Dolphins were struggling to break the Stallions full court pressure and zone defense in overtime and San Juan Hills junior guard Daniel Haimes knocked down four consecutive free throws to put Dana Hills in a 35-31 hole. With his team trailing, Dolphins senior guard Jack Sheffield hit a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left to cut the deficit to one point. Another pair of free throws made by Haimes gave the Stallions a three-point lead.
With just seconds on the clock, Dana Hills senior Eric Matheis stepped into a 3-pointer from the top of the key and sank it, forcing a second overtime. Matheis led all scorers with 23 points. He also grabbed nine rebounds and four assists.
“Even when his shot wasn’t going (Matheis) was getting his hands on the ball, he was getting rebounds. He refused to let us lose that game,” Desiano said. “When you have a kid like that you always have a chance. He kind of willed us down the stretch.”
Both teams were deadlocked until, in the third overtime with the score notched at 44 apiece, Dolphins sophomore Parker Romo hit a corner 3-pointer to give Dana Hills a lead they would not let go of.
The pesky nature of the Stallions defense, especially their zone, caused the Dolphins to shoot 25 percent from the field. Dana Hills attempted a season-high 37 3-pointers in the contest and made only six of them.
“If you look at the stats we probably shot a miserable percentage, but in the third overtime we were able to make some shots finally,” Desiano said. “We were cold for a long stretch of time against their zone. But when we needed to, kids hit big three’s to get us back in the game. When they needed to, they stepped up.”