Deondre Begay last-second layup lifts Newcomb into state title game

Matthew Asher, Carlsbad Current-Argus

ALBUQUERQUE – The Newcomb Skyhawks will be playing for the team's first state title in school history after Deondre Begay hit a layup with 1.8 seconds left to give his team a 50-48 win over Mesilla Valley Christian Friday morning at Dreamstyle Arena.

Mesilla Valley's Michael Johnson and Newcomb's Deondre Begay fight for the ball during Friday's 2A state semifinals at Dreamstyle Arena in Albuquerque.

How it happened

The teams were tied at 22 at the half before Mesilla Valley (22-7) went on a 5-0 run to retake the lead. It would hold for the majority of the second half. Mesilla Valley led 41-32 in the fourth quarter, forcing Newcomb's (29-2) defense to play even tighter and understand they were going to have to give up some fouls in order to negate the size difference.

Turning point

Newcomb fought back to tie the game at 48 and regained possession with 44.4 seconds. Dominique Richardson called a timeout for his team and emphasized he wanted Newcomb to have the final shot. The team had to burn one more timeout to avoid a 5-second violation.

The guards passed the ball between themselves and finally found Deondre Begay who drove down the lane and put his team up with a finger roll layup.

Mesilla Valley called a timeout with 1.8 seconds left but couldn't get the final shot off.

They said it

"We just got in a simple box set to get the ball in. I did a simple teaching moment, showing Shannon (Bitsilly) how to get open. Deandre Begay works on back cuts all the time. I knew they would deny him. What he's done the last 31 games is live in the paint. That's what he did today to get us the victory."

– Dominique Richardson, Newcomb head coach

"It feels amazing. It's just amazing. All those years starting in eighth grade and the early morning practices paid off. 

"It's everything for them. To motivate the younger generation to practice more in basketball and get to where we are today."

– Deondre Begay on the win and what this does for the future of Newcomb basketball

"We made history. I'm speechless."

– Shannon Bitsilly on becoming the first Newcomb team to play for a state title

"Losing is obviously tough. I have a son who is a senior...I think we had a really good season. My son and a few other seniors have played together since they were little. They got better over the course of the year. As a team we started gelling in the second half of the season. They did good. It's just a good group of kids who love each other and are smart."

– Douglas Coyle, Mesilla Valley head coach

Stat leaders

Deondre Begay led Newcomb with 20 points. Kelkenny Watchman and Deontay Begay each had eight. Torell Tracy and Shannon Bitsilly scored six and Tracey Bryant had two points.

Noah Coyle led Mesilla Valley with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Nolan Nunley added eight. Michael Johnson and Brayden Wells each scored seven and Steele Schweinebraten scored three points.

What's next

No. 3 Newcomb advances to the championship game Saturday against No. 1 Pecos at The Pit at 8 a.m.