Cibola's Brett Boyer walked to the free-throw line four times in the closing moments against Tucson.
Despite being in a bit of a shooting slump, the senior guard made all four and the Raiders held off the Badgers 55-51 to win third place in the Southwest Rotary Classic on Saturday afternoon at Cibola.
“He's our best free-throw shooter. He shoots them in practice and makes them in practice,” Cibola coach Tim Keller said. “As soon as I saw him stepping to the line, I knew he was going to make his free throws.”
Boyer finished with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists for the Raiders. Senior post Steven Loucks had a team-high 16 points and eight rebounds and sophomore T.J. Smith added 14 points and seven rebounds in the win.
The game against Tucson came on the afternoon after falling 82-65 to Arbor View in a semifinal Friday night, the first loss of the year for the Raiders.
“We hadn't had a loss this year so we weren't sure how we would respond to losing a hard game,” Keller said. “I know they were a little dejected because they lost to Arbor View. And we're happy with how they responded, they came out and played hard from the start. They didn't duck their heads and say this was just for a third place game.”
“I was kind of waiting for this game to come because since we lost, we had to redeem ourselves,” said Smith, who awed the crowd with a dunk early in the fourth.
Vista Grande got a deep three-pointer by Sawyer Weddle with two seconds left to beat Arbor View 64-62 in the championship on Saturday.
The Raiders (6-1) jumped out of the gate and had built a 27-17 lead over the Badgers with a basket by Loucks midway through the second quarter – but Tucson answered with a 10-2 run to end the half. Neither team held a lead more than three points in the third quarter, and Cibola went up 50-44 midway through the fourth on an out-of-bounds play for Loucks.
Tucson later got a pair of free-throws and a short jumper from freshman point guard Parker Trujillo to make it 51-50 with 14 seconds left and sent Boyer to the line for a one-and-one.
“Just at least make one, just so they don't go down and make a basket to take the lead,” Boyer said. “And if you make one, the second one is easy.”
Boyer toed the line and calmly made both and after Trujillo was fouled and split a pair of free throws, the 6-foot shooting guard for Cibola made two more free throws to seal the win.
Sophomore guard Demetrius Flannigan had a team-high 13 points for the Badgers and senior wing Cameron Volk added eight in a losing effort.
The Raiders regroup after playing in their tournament and host Lake Havasu at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a regular season matchup. The Raiders say they showed improvements in the three-day, four-game tournament that have been clear.
“Before we didn't have a strong chemistry together as a team, and now we're developing more teamwork,” Smith said.
Keller adds the Cibola defense “has gotten heads and shoulders better than where we were at the beginning of the season.”
Jesse Severson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 539-6881. Find him on Facebook at facebook.com/YSJesseSeverson