By Debbie Raney
Baxter Davies scored 27 points in the Mustangs’ win over the Spray Eagles last Friday, but it’s doubtful that anyone in the Crane gym remembers the first 24. It was the final 3-point shot that will forever be imbedded in every fan’s memory.
Trailing by as many as 10 points, the Mustangs launched a fourth quarter comeback and took their first lead with just over one minute remaining in the game.
With four seconds on the clock, Crane was ahead 51-48. Spray went to the free-throw line for three shots on a foul in the 3-point zone. The first shot went in, and the second missed, making the score 51-49. On the third shot, the Eagles player fired an intentional miss. Spray got the rebound, put up the shot and tied the score at 51. A foul was committed by the Mustangs on the shot. The Eagles were sent to the foul line for the go-ahead free throw with 1.5 seconds left, and the shot was good. Crane was behind by one point.
On the inbound play that followed, Matt Stevens took the ball out under the Eagle’s basket. Davies was waiting, just past half court, with a defender between him and the basket. Stevens passed to Davies along the right sideline, away from the defense. As the clock started, Davies squared up and fired a rocket. At the buzzer, the ball arced, hit nothing but net, and the Mustangs won 54-52.
The battle of the two High Desert League undefeated teams began with the teams matching basket for basket. With Spray’s 6-foot, 5-inch, Asa Miller working inside, the Mustangs found it tough to get offensive rebounds, and by the end of the first quarter, Crane was behind 15-11.
Royal Henricks scored on a steal to open the second quarter, and again, the teams played the quarter bucket for bucket. Spray hit a 3-pointer, followed by another from inside the paint in the final minute to take a 28-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Stevens, B. Davies and Dallen Davies were scoring for the Mustangs at the top of the third, but Spray’s Keith Adams came alive from the perimeter, hitting three 3-pointers in the period. Going into the last quarter, Spray led 43-33.
Cody Henricks grabbed a defensive rebound that D. Davies turned into the first basket of the fourth. On the next trip down the floor, B. Davies was fouled on a successful hook shot, picking up three points with the free throw. In the next four minutes, B. Davies scored six more points, pulling Crane to within one, 47-46. C. Henricks picked off a pass and took the steal to the other end for two points, giving the Mustangs a 48-47 lead.
Spray tied things up with a foul shot, then B. Davies gave Crane the lead again with a shot at 36 seconds. Stevens put the Mustangs three points ahead, hitting a free throw, and setting up the final four seconds of the game.
Along with B. Davies’ 27 points, Stevens scored 10, C. Henricks made seven, D. Davies put in six and R. Henricks scored four.
CRA 11 10 12 21 54
SPR 15 13 15 9 52
The Mustang junior varsity boys played two quarters against the Eagles, coming out on top, 23-18.
Joe Witzel made 10 points to lead Crane, with Pete Joyce and Jesse Northrop adding four each. Jeran Conaway and Lance Moser made two points each and Milton Merritt made one.