Tyler Garrett hit five clutch free throws Tuesday night in the final 30 seconds of Sonoma Valley High’s 47-45 win over Maria Carrillo.
The Pumas came back from a 40-29 deficit early in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 42 with 39 seconds left. But Maria Carrillo had to foul to get the ball back – they just kept fouling the wrong guy.
Garrett went to the line with 31 seconds left and sunk both free throws. He was back on the line 14 seconds later and sunk two more. And for good measure, he sunk one with 8 seconds left to cement the Dragons’ two-point win.
“That’s why we want Tyler to have the ball in his hands late in the game,” said Dragon Coach Mike Boles.
Sonoma jumped out to an early lead, and while the Pumas kept coming back, the Dragons kept denying them the lead.
The Dragons led by as many as five in the first quarter when Riley Phelan hit a basket at the 2:35 mark.
Early in the second quarter, the Pumas narrowed the margin to 15-13, but baskets by Jack Boydell and Kahlil Villias Martinis pushed Sonoma’s lead to 19-13. But with a pair of free throws in the last half-minute of the second quarter, the Pumas again crept to within a pair at 26-24.
The Dragons controlled the boards – especially the defensive boards – all night long.
“We wanted to limit them to one shot,” Boles said. “We did a tremendous job of going to the boards.”
Both teams came out cold in the third quarter. The Dragons endured a five-minute scoreless drought to start the quarter that ended when Max Gustafson sunk a pair of free throws at the 2:55 mark. But then the Dragons went on a 10-1 run to give themselves a 37-27 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Sonoma stretched the lead 40-29 at the 6:52 mark. But the Pumas went on a 9-0 run themselves over the next three minutes to make it a one-point game again.
Maria Carrillo tied the game at 42 with a three-pointer with only 39 seconds left. The Pumas had to start fouling in an attempt to get the ball back. But they kept fouling Garrett and he kept sinking his free throws – in turn sinking the Pumas.
“I was pleased with our overall defense,” Boles said. “They were eight-for-eight from the line in the first half and we talked about that at the half. They got only two free throws in the second half.”
Boles substituted freely keeping everybody fresh.
“The guys off the bench – Justin (Cox), Kahlil (Villias Martinis), Reed (Hewitt) and Nick (Spanger) gave us some tremendous minutes,” he said. “This was a good team win.”
Gustafson led the attack with 13 points, Garrett had eight, Boydell and Villias Martinis had six, Riley Phelan and Spanger had five while Hewitt and Cox each had a pair.
The Dragons are in the Alhambra Tournament in Martinez and face Rodriguez High from Fairfield at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday, Dec. 1.