CHS Boys clinch 3A playoff spot
To say the least, it's been an interesting week for the Carbon High boys basketball team.
Needing a win to clinch a playoff spot in the 3A State Tournament, the Dinos had a senior night to remember as they pulled past North Sanpete 55-53 in a game that went down to the wire.
Carbon High senior Michael Peczuh missed a shot in the paint with seconds left giving North Sanpete a chance for a final shot to win the game before a possible overtime. Instead of sulking about the missed shot, Peczuh found himself in the right place at the right time as he was fouled on an over the back call by the Hawks' Cole Seely with 6.5 seconds left.
Peczuh knocked down two clutch free throws in the final seconds giving the Dinos a 55-53 lead.
"I had a lot of nerves before going to the free throw line," Peczuh said after the game. "I just tried to focus and go blank and it worked."
North Sanpete had one final opportunity to tie the game but Jordan Christensen dribbled the ball off his foot turning the ball over to the Dinos with one second left.
One long inbounds pass was all the Dinos needed to secure the last second victory and set off a celebration with players, family members and fans spilling onto the court.
After making a number of key plays down the stretch to help the Dinos clinch a spot in the playoffs, Peczuh said it was going be a night to remember for all of the seniors.
"This is going to be a great memory for all of us," he said.
The Dinos did not face an easy task against a North Sanpete team that came in with just two Region 12 wins.
The two teams battled back and forth for much of the first half as the Dinos led 28-25 going into halftime.
The Dinos grabbed a 34-29 lead in the third quarter before senior Derek Young picked up his third foul midway through the quarter.
North Sanpete's Jake Bailey, who finished with a game-high 24 points, used all of his 6-foot-6-inch frame to cause problems inside for the Dinos.
Despite the height difference at times for the Dinos, they still maintained a 36-35 lead heading into the final quarter.
From there, Young, Peczuh and fellow senior Bryce Blackburn each made plays in a back and forth final quarter of play.
Blackburn's layup and foul coversion gave the Dinos a 41-37 lead with 6:43 left.
After trading baskets, Young hit a big 3-pointer for the Dinos giving them a 48-43 lead. But Bailey continued to pester the Dino defense keeping the Hawks within striking distance in the final moments.
Young hit a hook shot over Bailey to give the Dinos a 53-49 lead but Cole Seely hit a key basket and was fouled on the shot. His made free throw cut the lead to 53-52 with 1:40 left.
Young missed the front end of one and one and Christensen hit 1-of-2 free throws on the other end to tie the game at 53-53 with 1:25 left.
The Dinos milked most of the time left on the clock looking to take a final shot. The move nearly backfired when Peczuh's shot missed but North Sanpete was unable to capitalize on the opportunity.
"Our seniors stepped up big and played well tonight," said CHS head coach Jeff Cisneros. "Our season could have been over tonight so this is a big win for us."
Cisneros said the Dinos caught a break in the final moments with Peczuh being fouled by North Sanpete to set up the chance to get the lead. In previous situations, Cisneros said the Dinos have been on the other end of the tough result.
"Some games we've been a second too slow to get into that position on defense, but tonight we were able to do that," he explained.
Peczuh and Young led the Dinos with 14 points each and Blackburn added 11 points. Cisneros led the Dinos offense with a team-high 10 assists in the win.
While the victory clinched a spot in the 3A State Tournament, the Dinos had to travel to Delta for the season finale on Friday evening.
Despite playing a close first quarter, the Dinos went cold in the second quarter and were put into a large deficit thanks to a hot shooting performance by the Rabbits.
The Dinos trailed 29-17 at the half and while they were able to convert more shots on offense, the Rabbits continued to maintain a steady pace on offense on their way to a 67-50 win.
With the loss, the Dinos tied with Delta for the third spot in the Region 12 standings. A coin toss was held immeadiately after the game which saw Delta come away with the third spot and Carbon taking the fourth seed from Region 12.
The coin toss result does not make anything easier for the Dinos. Now they must travel to Region 11 leader Morgan High for a game on Friday night at 7 p.m. Morgan finished Region 11 play with an 12-0 record and have won 14 straight games dating back to mid-December.
If the Dinos are able to travel to Morgan and come away with a victory, they would advance to the 3A quarterfinals which will be held at Weber State University in Ogden starting on Feb. 21.
The Dinos finished regular season play with a record of 11-11 including a 4-6 record in Region 12 play.