TACOMA – Garrett Sawyer, Central Valley’s clutch shooter all season, said he never saw it go in.
Bears coach Rick Sloan said he was looking for a rebound and didn’t see it go in either.
Sawyer was on his rear when his 3-point shot went in, and he made the ensuing foul shot to give the Bears the lead for good with 1:33 to go as CV knocked off Garfield of Seattle 53-52 in a State 4A boys basketball tournament opener in the late game Thursday at the Tacoma Dome.
CV (21-3) takes on Union (19-7) tonight at 9 in the semifinals.
Sawyer finished with 10 points but none was bigger than the four-point play he converted.
“We always preach, ‘Do what we do,’ ” said Sawyer after the Bears extended their winning streak to 18. “We’ve been sharing the ball real well all year and it came down to it again right there. Gaven (Deyarmin) hit me and I saw some green grass and pulled it. I didn’t see it go in at all. I just heard everyone start yelling so I assumed it went in.”
It was the momentum play CV desperately needed after a 2-minute scoring drought saw the Bears fall behind 46-42. Throw in a couple of uncharacteristic turnovers, and the Bears needed something good to happen and happen in a hurry.
Austin Rehkow put CV ahead 52-48 with two free throws with 22 seconds remaining, and sophomore Adam Chamberlain hit the second of two fouls shots to make it 53-50 with :12 to go.
Garfield (19-6) pushed the ball down the floor, but ran out of time after Trevaunte’ Williams made a basket at the buzzer.
“It took a little time for our shooting to kick in and (Sawyer) kicked in at the right time,” said Deyarmin, who had a team-high 14 points and seven rebounds. “That’s obviously the hardest shot you can hit. Great shot. We went in expecting it to be really physical, and it lived up to it.”
Sloan has quit being amazed by his team in general and Sawyer in particular.
“He’s hit big shots for us all year,” Sloan said. “It was his turn tonight to hit the big shot.”
Sloan agreed that at times CV made some unusual mistakes.
“They pressured us a little bit and I think we got a little fatigued,” Sloan said. “First game, there were some jitters, guys were a little tight. I wasn’t sure we could catch our second wind as quickly as we normally would. Adam did a phenomenal job as a sophomore and handling their pressure.
“It wasn’t our best effort offensively but it was a typical gut-it-out win that you’ve seen several times.”
In the first half, points didn’t come easily for either team as both shot poorly.
CV took its first lead at 14-13 when Beau Byus took a pass from Adam Chamberlain on a pick-and-roll at the 5:56 mark of the second quarter. Moments later, Chamberlain got past Garfield’s defense for a layup for a 16-13 lead.
Byus, off an assist from Garrett Sawyer, made a basket to give CV a 23-20 lead with 2:38 to go in the half.
Garfield finished on a 6-0 surge for a 26-23 lead at halftime.