DORA — Late heroics returned to Guy Luscombe Gymnasium Friday night, in the form of sophomore guard Clay Smith.
Smith scored 10 points, the final three on a trey with two seconds left to give the Dora Coyotes a 56-54 win in a District 3-1A thriller Friday night against Melrose.
“That was our goal going into the game, to hit open shots,” Dora coach Ty Thatcher said. “There was a lot of composure out of a sophomore guard to knock that shot down.”
Dora forward Tyler Wilhoit had a chance to send the game into overtime, going to the line for two free throws with six seconds left. Wilhoit missed the second free throw, but had the rebound tipped to him by Casey O’Connor. Wilhoit fired the ball to J.R. Gonzales, who reversed the ball to Smith for the game-winner.
“Casey O’Connor tipped the ball that we rebounded and kept that play alive for us,” Thatcher said. “I thought that was a big play.”
The 3-pointer took away a golden opportunity for the visiting Buffaloes (10-7, 1-2), who rallied from a 47-40 fourth-quarter deficit. Carlos Ruiz and Tyler Tatum each scored 21 to keep the Buffaloes in the game.
Wilhoit led Dora (13-7, 2-1) with 13, while Gonzales added 11.
Friday was not the first Dora game involving a late shot this season. The Coyotes won a 64-61 overtime battle against Elida 10 days before after Tom Sullivan hit a buzzer-beating three to keep the Tigers alive after regulation.