Telos Academy holds on to defeat Panthers 58-54 in 1A play-in game
Down by one with ten seconds left, the Pinnacle High Panthers boys basketball team found themselves with a chance to pick up a last second win.
But not everything goes according to plan on the big stage of the 1A State Tournament.
The Panthers had the ball with 10 seconds left but a player stepped out of bounds on a questionable call that helped give Telos a chance to extend their lead helping to eliminate Pinnacle with a 58-54 loss on Tuesday afternoon in Richfield.
"It's a tough way to lose a game like that," said PHS head coach Cameron Gardner. "There's a lot of what ifs going on right now."
Pinnacle and Telos battled back and forth throughout the game. Pinnacle trailed most of the way but was able to tie the game on a few occasions, Gardner said.
The Panthers trailed by five at the half but with seconds left in the game were able to have a shot to get the win.
"We started the game off well, but then we went into a slump," said Gardner. "In the second half the kids came out with a lot more energy."
One area that hurt Pinnacle came from the free-throw line where they shot 7-of-21 (33 percent).
"Shooting free-throws like that makes it really tough for a team to win," said Gardner.
Levi Rutherford led Pinnacle with 18 points, including four 3-pointers. Senior Cody Dean Sanchez added 16 points.
With another chance to advance to the 1A playoffs, a bus load of Pinnacle students and family members were on hand to cheer the team on during the game.
While the loss was hard for the team to endure, Gardner said he emphasized to the team not to get too down on themselves.
"We can't can too discouraged by the result," he said. "The season ends for everybody but one team at the end."
Gardner and the team decided to stay in Richfield into Wednesday so the Panthers could see other teams compete.
He is hoping that the younger players will take in the experience of the state tournament and use that as motivation to get back next year.
"The next season starts today," he explained. "Hopefully this can create that feeling of the kids wanting to get back here again next season."
Gardner credited the senior class, including Sanchez, Jackson Nichols, Wyatt Howard and junior Bronson Hammer who is graduating early, with bringing leadership and working hard on and off the court.
"It was a real fun group to work with this season," he said.