KC upset bid falls short in OT vs. No. 1 Roswell
Dowdy, Foutz go off but Broncos lose 81-80 in overtime
ALBUQUERQUE — The ninth-seeded Kirtland Central boys basketball team nearly flipped the 5A state bracket on its head today at The Pit.
The Broncos pushed No. 1 Roswell (23-4) to the limit, leading multiple times throughout regulation and overtime before ultimately falling 81-80 in the 5A quarterfinals.
"Well, I told the boys, 'These are the moments you've got to cherish in life if you're a competitor and you love basketball," Kirtland Central coach Brian Dowdy said after the game. "I knew Roswell's style and their reputation. I think we kind of got (into the tournament) under the radar. It was no surprise we were toe to toe with them, for me."
The Broncos (18-11) came out swinging, running the ball every chance they got and building a 30-21 late-second quarter lead. Eric Foutz had an incredible first half with 18 points, many of which came as a result of short pull-up jumpers in the lane or layups in transition.
"I try to base my whole game off of defense and taking it to the hoop," Foutz said. "Just hoping shots and easy layups would fall after getting some stops."
The Broncos went into the half with a 2-point lead, and though they relinquished the advantage a few times in the second half, they always stayed within 3 to 5 points of the Coyotes.
With his team down 68-65 with less than 40 seconds to go in regulation, KC's Bryson Dowdy shot a highly contested 3-pointer from the top of the arc that went in to tie the game. Roswell killed some clock before calling timeout, and on the ensuing play, when a Coyote player drove the lane to attempt a game-winning layup, Nathan Enoah shuffled over to make the game-saving block with 0.01 seconds left on the clock.
"He was literally the top shot blocker in the state. I think he was 28th in the country on MaxPreps," Dowdy said of Enoah. "Defensively, he's been that way all year. What I was really happy with today was a couple of the moves he made in the post and the confidence he had to shoot it."
Enoah finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds and more than six blocked shots.
In overtime, the Broncos sent their fan section into a frenzy by opening the session on a 4-0 run. But Roswell senior Chris Mesquita was waiting with a response, and played the fourth quarter and overtime periods with ice in his veins.
Mesquita went off with 13 of his 22 points in the final two periods, including back-to-back daggers from 3-point range inside the final two minutes of OT, the second to put the Coyotes up 79-78.
KC had a few chances to take the lead as the seconds ticked down to single digits. Multiple Broncos scrambled to score on put-back opportunities to no avail before Roswell finally secured the defensive rebound and quickly was fouled.
Jasia Reese then calmly sank two free throws to make it 81-78.
On the last play of the game, Terrin Willie caught a cross-court pass at the 3-point arc, but made the decision to drive to the hoop for a layup as time expired, instead of shooting a potential game-tying 3.
"The pass came from the middle to the wing, and I think the pass was off just enough to where Terrin kind of bobbled it and had it in his mind to get to the rim and beat the clock," Dowdy said. "We actually had Colby Mitchell, one of our best 3-point shooters, spotted up on the other side, and Terrin just didn't see him. I think if he catches that pass in stride, Terrin swings it across, and we have a great look at a wide-open 3. He just lost track of the points, you know. Seventeen-year-old kid trying to play hard."
Bryson Dowdy had a huge game with 23 points, and Foutz was right behind him with 22 in his final high school game. The senior said there's not much he would change about KC's season.
"I couldn't ask for any different, I mean, maybe 1 or 2 more points on the board at the end," Foutz said. "But I love my team, I love my coaches and I wouldn't want it any other way."
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.