All I can say is: This was the game we’ve been waiting for. After losing to San Mateo earlier in the season, Contra Costa was determined to see a different result in the championship. Each team was fighting hard but neither was able to get much of an upper hand until late in the fourth quarter when San Mateo began to build a slight lead over Contra Costa. For a moment, it seemed like the game was over. Contra Costa looked like they were losing heart, San Mateo was ready to step forward to take their trophy. But then, something miraculous happened. Contra Costa came back. The unbelievable shooting of Roy Giles and John Sharper enabled Contra Costa to tie the score at the end of regulation and send the game into overtime. The atmosphere was electric. Everyone in the stands was on their feet. Contra Costa player/coach, Anton Lyons later said “we kept grinding and stayed together; played together” that unity and determination enabled them to stay in the fight. Contra Costa was down by six with less than a minute on the clock but they were able to get the turnovers they needed and nailed two back to back three-pointers to send the game into overtime!
San Mateo came out guns blazing, once again building a small lead over the beleaguered Contra Costa. Once again, Contra Costa hung in there and gained momentum at exactly the right moment to bring it back. Down by three, with less than ten seconds on the clock, Giles drove inside, saw two men on him and sent the ball behind the three-point line to Joell Crawford. Crawford knocked down his second shot of the game with two seconds left to send the game into double overtime.
In double overtime, a timely offensive rebound turned into a spectacular dunk by Aaron Ragsdale, which seemed to shift the momentum once more in San Mateo’s favor as they claimed a 5 point lead with less than one minute to go. At this point, it would have been all too easy for Contra Costa to give up, but some incredibly fortunate fouls and more unbelievable shooting tied things up to send the game into Triple Overtime!
The score was 78- 78. Expectation hung thick in the air. Fans were going crazy as the teams took the floor for what would be the last time. A brief but intense battle left San Mateo holding a one point lead with 20 seconds on the clock. They hung back and swung the ball around the outside as they tried to eat up more of the clock and seal the deal. A miraculously timed steal gave Contra Costa their last chance to make their championship dreams a reality. With 7 seconds left on the clock John Gilchrist, went up for a three pointer. As the ball sailed through the air, the stands became deathly still… and then exploded as the ball fell through the net. With 6.8 seconds left on the clock, San Mateo took a time out. They in-bounded from the half court line and with 3 seconds on the clock Remi Sobomehin took a shot from behind the three-point line. The ball bounced off the rim and into the hands of Emanuel Igbinosa (San Mateo), in San Mateo’s last chance to take the title, Igbinosa went for a three. As the buzzer went off, the ball hit the rim… and bounced away. The stands exploded as this spectacular game came to an incredible conclusion. One fan described it as witnessing “miracle after miracle!” multiple people described the game “an Epic battle”.
Both teams demonstrated a tremendous amount of sportsmanship. John Sharper scored 24 points from behind the arc and Roy Giles scored 35 points overall. Both teams were full of praise for their opponents; many spoke of the heart and determination that were shown on the court. In the end, Contra Costa was able to step up exactly when it mattered (four times) to keep their dream alive and make it a reality.
Final Score: Contra Costa- 86 San Mateo- 84
Middle School Championship:
The middle school championship game was another upset as Alameda seized the lead from Santa Clara and refused to relinquish it. Santa Clara started to gain momentum later in the second half, but was unable to come back. Alameda’s defense was a key factor in bringing down the usually dynamic Santa Clara offense.
Final Score: Alameda-35 Santa Clara-32