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LBHC: Desperation buzzer-beater downs RV boys
It's a play the Rio Linda High boys basketball team works on every day at practice.
The desperation heave at the buzzer isn't used a lot during the season, it's good to have in the repertoire, just in case. Rio Linda coach Terry Ray said his team usually botches the play — and that's just at practice.
His Knights picked a good time to run it to perfection.
With 1 second remaining in regulation, Langston Howard inbounded from the baseline and threw the ball to the opposite end of the court. Lying in wait was senior guard Paul Rubio, who grabbed the ball from in between two River Valley players and tossed up a prayer.
Rubio's shot banked off glass into nylon and Knights players and fans stormed the court at Lindhurst High to celebrate a 43-42 thriller over the Falcons in the second day of play at the ninth annual Lindhurst Blazer Holiday Classic on Friday night.
"I couldn't believe it, especially after all of the easy shots we missed," Ray said. "To make a shot like that at the buzzer, it was fantastic and a great win for our kids. They really needed that."
Rio Linda will face Fortuna in tonight's tournament championship, while River Valley takes on host Lindhurst in the third-place game, a rematch from the Twin Cities Shootout.
RV coach Brad McIntire said he could not remember seeing an ending like Friday's game in his coaching career.
"Clearly it was a good shot, but I dispute that it was within a second because you can't physically tip a ball, catch a ball and shoot it in one second," McIntire said. "It's physically impossible."
The shot stood and ended a scoring drought for both teams which lasted the final 2 minutes of the game.
The Knights picked up their first lead of the contest with 4:50 left in the fourth quarter on Howard's putback. RV's Cris Lamas put the Falcons back on top 42-41 and that score stood until Rubio's game-winner.
"We put ourselves in that position for that to happen," McI tire said.
The Falcons (7-8) shot 18 percent from the field in the second half as they struggled to mount any type of offense to distance themselves from the Knights, who didn't fare much better, shooting 27 percent over the final two periods.
McIntire added that Rio Linda's inside post duo of the 6-foot-5 Howard and 6-3, 215-pounder Riley Smith gave the Falcons trouble. The Knights outrebounded RV 29-19 — Smith and Howard accounted for 19 of those boards.
"We didn't come out physical at the beginning of the game," McIntire said. "We didn't block out well and put ourselves in a bad position at the end."
The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for River Valley, which won last weekend's Mel Good Holiday Classic. After some early-season struggles, McIntire said he's starting to see his team put it together.
The Falcons lost four starters from the 2011-12 squad, the best team in school history, which finished 18-7 last season.
Senior Stuart Bradley, the Falcons' sixth man last season, is flourishing in a starter's role this season and led RV with 15 points and five rebounds against Rio Linda. Fellow senior Deepak Leal was the MVP of the Mel Good.
This year, RV is getting contributions from a different player every night, McIntire said. It's a complete team effort.
"I think they're starting to understand and play with more confidence," McIntire said. "They're moving better on the defensive end, we're contesting more shots, and aside from (Friday) we've been blocking out pretty well.
"We'll have to come back against Lindhurst and respond well."