A disheartened Logan junior Austin Whetten watches as Des Moines receives the Class 1A championship trophy. (CNJ staff photo: Jesse Wolfersberger)
By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ staff writer
ALBUQUERQUE — It took until the final seconds of the championship game, but the magic finally ran out for the Logan Longhorns.
Down by two with 1.9 seconds left in the game, Des Moines tried to inbound the ball, but Logan guard Josh Franco stole it just inside half court and threw up a prayer that hit the backboard, just a foot left of a game-winning miracle.
With the miss, the Demons escaped 72-70, winning the Class 1A state title Saturday at The Pit in Albuquerque.
Senior Drew Perez scored 23 for the Longhorns (26-5). Jake Abercrombie added 19 and Saul Acosta had 14.
Benjamin Doherty led the Demons (30-2) with 28.
“It sure was feeling good for just a split second,” Logan coach Billy Burns said. “It’s one of those deals where if you have a shot to win the game… that’s what you look for in a close game. And we had a shot, it just didn’t go down.”
Logan advanced to the title game after beating Magdalena in the semifinals when Acosta grabbed an air ball and put it in as the buzzer sounded.
“It goes back to hard work,” Burns said. “If Saul hadn’t hustled and been in that position when the ball came to him, we wouldn’t be here.”
Veteran Des Moines coach Dwayne Kibbe, who announced his retirement earlier in the season, said he was glad he was able to go out on top.
“This is a good one to go out on,” Kibbe said. “It’s not that I want to leave Des Moines, it’s just time.”
This was Kibbe’s ninth season at Des Moines, he previously coached at Floyd and Elida.
Kibbe said he plans on moving back to Portales and enjoying his retirement.
On the other end of the spectrum, Burns, a second-year head coach, said he just hopes his future holds another chance at a state title.
“You don’t get here very often,” he said. “There are a lot of coaches that never get here, and I may never be back, you just never know.”
Perez said for he and Doherty, playing in this game was the realization of a prediction they made almost ten years ago.
“When I was in third grade, I came to Albuquerque and I was on an AAU team with Ben,” Perez said. “We told ourselves that when we were seniors, we were going to play in The Pit. And we did it.”