Somehow, Chaparral boys basketball beat Denver East in double overtime on Thursday night.
Despite finishing the game with four players on the court. Despite 46 points from Denver East star Brian Carey. Despite its own stars, Jake Holtzmann and Chris Moody, fouling out.
"You hear about (playing with four players), but I don't think I've ever seen that," Chaparral coach Rob Johnson said on Friday morning.
Chaparral's bench shortened on Thursday when one player hurt his ankle in PE class and was unavailable to play. That followed another player unexpectedly moving to Florida a few days ago. So the Wolverines had nine players available against Denver East. Five fouled out by game's end, leaving Chaparral to play the final 10 seconds with four players.
"There were so many crazy things that happened just to even go to that point," Johnson said.
Up two with less than 10 seconds to play in regulation, Denver East had Brian Carey at the line to ice things. Carey entered the game 45-of-49 on free throws (92 percent), and was 10-of-10 at that point in the game. He hit the first shot, but missed the second.
"We couldn't believe it," Johnson said. "He never misses free-throws."
(Indeed, Carey finished 18-of-19 from the line. "He's an unbelievable guard that's very hard to contain," Johnson said. "Just unbelievable.")
Moody grabbed the rebound, and pushed the ball up the court. Holtzmann was to his left. The defender slid over to Holtzmann to try and anticipate the pass, so Moody pulled up and hit the game-tying 3-point shot.
In the first overtime, Chaparral was up two when Moody was fouled intentionally going for an open bucket. A flagrant foul was called on East, but Moody was also whistled for a technical due to his reaction. That was his fifth foul, and so he fouled out with 21 points.
The two teams traded a pair of free-throws. Eventually, East's Ben Potts tipped a missed layup in at the buzzer to send the game to a second overtime — but only after the refs huddled for a minute-long conversation to discuss whether the shot came before the buzzer. They eventually ruled that it did.
As the second overtime opened, both teams continued to lose players due to fouls. Chaparral's Holtzmann (26 points) fouled out on the first possession of the second overtime. By the time the game ended, Denver East also had five players foul out and had junior varsity players playing significant time.
For Chaparral, that meant it was up to Chase Coon. He responded by hitting free-throw after free-throw in the second overtime. He finished with 15 points in the game, including 11-of-14 shooting from the line.
"He had been struggling from the free-throw line the last couple of games and really stepped it up," Johnson said. "He had a big steal to tie it up, and in double-overtime he kept making free-throws. He just took it over."
With 25 seconds left, Chaparral's Peter Wilson had four fouls.
"I said, 'Peter, you cannot foul, we don't have any players left on the bench.' He goes in there and gets a foul," Johnson said, laughing.
So Chaparral finished the game with four on the floor, the final touch of adversity to overcome on Thursday night.
"That's exactly what we talked about," Johnson said. "Not only those things, but there are some little things within our own team that we were battling through and overcame. Then, obviously the situation they played through. It was really good for us. Hopefully it can kind of define who we are."