FARMINGTON — A game-winning jump shot is exciting enough, but rarely does a team playing 3-on-5 pull out such a victory.
That's exactly what happened in the Navajo Prep junior varsity boys basketball team's win at Crownpoint on Wednesday.
After five of his teammates fouled out, freshman Jonathan Slim banked in a 3-pointer as time elapsed to give the Eagles a 60-59 win.
"A lot of things were going through my mind," Slim said. "I was wondering if I was going to make it or not. I got the ball, and I didn't even think about shooting. I just threw it up. The first thing I did after was look at the ref to see if she counted it. She put the 3-pointer up, and I was so happy."
The Eagles played 4-on-5 beginning at the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter. After another teammate fouled with four minutes left, Slim, sophomore Kody King and freshman Justin Cleveland continued the game with the two-man disadvantage.
"It was hard and pretty tiring," Cleveland said of playing shorthanded. "I thought we were going to lose it, but I guess with teamwork you can win."
Prep actually entered the game with 14 players active for the contest, but six reached their five-quarter limit earlier in the contest after also participating in the C team game prior to the start of JV game.
Once a team begins to run out of eligible players, there is no rule in New Mexico high school basketball that requires a minimum number of players on the court.
"As long as it's competitive, then the game continues," said Walter Dorman, who makes the basketball referee assignments for San Juan County, Grants and Gallup. "Technically, it could get down to 1-on-5 as long as it stays close. It's up to the referee to determine whether or not to end the game early."
Slim said the game was a unique experience that he won't ever forget.
"Nobody has ever done that here," he said. "The next day at school, everyone was giving me high-fives and saying good job. It was really cool."Joshua Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.