Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012 | 2:05 a.m.
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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer are back to talk basketball with another edition of Prep Sports Now. They wrap up the regular season and preview some of the matchups in next week's first round of the playoffs.
Members of the Silverado High basketball team could have easily panicked.
The Skyhawks led visiting Coronado by nine points Wednesday in the fourth quarter of a key Southeast Division game, but faded down the stretch in surrendering a 15-4 scoring run to trail by four points with less than a minute remaining.
Instead of hanging their heads, the Skyhawks pieced together a last-minute rally that will surely give them confidence in next week’s Sunrise Regional tournament.
The comeback started when Justin Johnson drained a contested 3-pointer to trim the deficit to one point with 38 seconds left. After Coronado failed to win the game at the free throw line on its ensuing possession, Silverado’s Jonathan Aman scored the game-winner on a layup with four seconds to play in a 53-52 victory.
Coronado’s Mike Louder missed a free throw that was rebounded by Silverado’s Ruben Jackson. Jackson connected on a length-of-the-court pass with an open Aman for the winning points.
“We did the right things defensively tonight,” Silverado coach Martin Ferriter said. “We were able to contain them enough where we were able to hang in there when things weren’t going our way.”
The victory was extra sweet for Johnson.
In the first game this season between the schools, Johnson missed a free throw with three seconds to play that would have forced overtime in a one-point Silverado loss. His 3-pointer Wednesday clearly atoned for the miss.
“I knew time was coming down and we needed a shot,” Johnson said. “I needed to redeem myself. I didn’t get that good of a look but it still went in.”
Silverado built a 44-35 lead with about six minutes remaining, but couldn’t find off Coronado’s late charge. Teyshawn Campbell had eight points in the outburst for Coronado, including a 3-pointer with 3:40 to play to cut the deficit to three points. Freshman Sam Bittner evened the game at 48-all with a 3-pointer on Coronado’s next possession.
In the matter of four minutes, Silverado went from not trailing the entire game to searching for answers to stop the Coronado rally. Credit Johnson not hesitating in heaving up his 3-pointer — he was closely guarded and could have easily passed.
“This game gives us confidence. It makes us feel like we can beat anybody,” Johnson said. “We feel like we can go to regionals and do big things.”
Jackson was great all night for Silverado in scoring a game-high 17 points and dictating the flow of the game. More importantly, he had the awareness to look up court and connect with Aman for the winning points.
“Ruben did a great job of rebounding and getting the ball up the floor,” Ferriter said.
The win puts Silverado (11-2) in sole possession of first-place in the Southeast heading into Friday’s regular season finale at Foothill (10-3). Coronado and Green Valley each have 10-3 records in league, meaning there could be a four-way tie for first place. Tiebreakers would determine the playoff seeding.
“It doesn’t matter where we end up or who we play (in the postseason),” Ferriter said. “And it doesn’t matter for Coronado or Foothill where they end up or who they play. The Sunrise is wide open. If anyone says any different, I beg to differ. Next week (in the regional quarterfinals), will be crazy those four games.”