With the possibility of a home playoff game for Canyon Del Oro (16-12, 9-1) at stake at Catalina Foothills (18-10, 8-2), it all came down to the final shot of the game.
With the CDO Dorados leading 54-53, the Falcons’ Robby Gerhauser hoisted up the last shot. It floated up, danced around the basket, backboard and rim, and finally dropped through the net for a 55-54 Foothills win.
CDO’s Josh Lewis had given the Dorados the lead, 54-53, on a floater with 38 seconds remaining.
“This is a heartbreak loss,” Lewis said.
Lewis had led the Dorados all night, as he scored 32 points on 11-25 shooting from the floor, and was 7-9 from the free throw line. Another typical night for Lewis, according to coach Jon Kimberlin.
“He’s averaging about 30 points per game in region,” Kimberlin said. Over his last nine games, Lewis averaged nearly 26 points a game.
CDO’s loss puts them on the road for the first playoff game; as the No. 9 seed they traveled to No. 8 seed, Sunnyslope, on Tuesday, Feb. 15. The No. 10 Falcons traveled to No. 7 McClintock on Feb. 15. (Watch next week’s Explorer for details.)
The two arch-rivals got off to a strong start offensively. Foothills took a 17-16 lead after one. Lewis scored 10 of his 32 in the quarter. The Falcons were led by Gerhauser’s three treys, and Daniel Giffin, who made four of five shots in the post for nine points in the first.
Gerhauser finished with 20 points as well as a game-high five treys, while Giffin ended up with 20 points.
“This is our rival,” Lewis said. “They had nothing to lose.”
The Dorados opened the second on a 6-0 run. They held the Falcons without a field goal for the first 4 1/2 minutes. But then, the home team went on an 8-2 run, before Lewis connected with a basket and free throw.
CDO trailed 27-25 at half.
“Josh has been our go-to-scorer,” Kimberlin said.
Erik Espinosa (3-3), Dre Anderson, and freshman Ty Ochese each added six points for the Dorados.
Running from hot to cold and then back again, why couldn’t the Dorados, led by Lewis, just put this game away?
“We had stretches without scoring,” Lewis said. “We needed to play all 32 minutes.”
The Dorados went scoreless for the first four minutes of the fourth quarter.
“They got a couple more rebounds,” Lewis said. “We needed to get more focused. Box out more.”
The Dorados opened the third quarter on a 10-5 run. Gerhauser narrowed the gap with a three-point bomb in the final few seconds of the third to narrow the lead to 44-40.
Another key point in the game came late in the fourth, after a basket by Lewis at the 3:45 mark, the first field goal by CDO in the quarter, the score was tied, 48-48.
But before the Dorados could establish any momentum, Gerhauser was fouled on a three-pointer, and proceeded to make all three free throws for a 51-48 lead for the Falcons with 3:15 left.
“We scored enough points to win,” Kimberlin said. “We have to defend and rebound better.”
“Foothills played a good game,” Kimberlin said. “For the most part we played well.”
Was there a positive to the Dorados first and only loss in region?
“It says a lot about our kids. Despite all the (defensive and rebounding) problems, we were still in the game to the last shot.”