Manogue’s Ethan Dillard made a driving layup with 10 seconds to go, lifting the underdog Miners to a shocking 45-44 upset win over state power Bishop Gorman Thursday night in a 4A State Tournament semifinal at the Orleans Arena.
Manogue trailed 44-41 after Gorman’s Rosco Allen made a runner in the lane with 56 seconds to go. Thirteen ticks later, Manogue trimmed the deficit to one after Zach McElroy got a putback, making the score 44-43.
Gorman took possession clinging to the one-point lead and opted to attack the rim. That decision did not pay off as the Gaels missed a shot, which was rebounded by the Miners. Dillard pushed the ball in transition and got the go-ahead bucket.
“I was yelling ‘foul.’” Miners coach Bill Ballinger said. “But you know what, you can cut that up into a million pieces and make it look however you want, but all I know is Manogue won and truthfully, that’s all I care about.”
Manogue (25-5) had taken the lead in the final two minutes of the first half and led 21-19 at halftime. Gorman responded by outscoring Manogue 12-8 in the third period.
Gorman (25-6) then scored the first bucket of the fourth quarter, forging ahead 33-29 on a Noah Robotham runner with 6:58 to go in the game. Unfortunately for Gorman fans, their Gaels could not build on that lead.
Miners point guard Niles Lujan started to lead a BMHS comeback as he knocked down a fall-away 3-pointer in the corner off an in-bounds set play. That made the score 33-32 Gorman with 6:43 left.
The Gaels’ lead was 40-37 after a Ben Carter layup at the fourth quarter’s 3:30 mark. But Lujan responded again, draining a 25-foot 3-pointer, seconds later to deadlock the postseason affair at 40-40.
Lujan had a big night, leading all scorers with 23 points, thanks to his dropping four 3-point bombs. He was the lone Miners player to score in double figures. Gorman held Dillard, who averages 20 an outing, to just eight points.
“I knew what our guys were capable of,” Ballinger said. “And I knew what Niles was capable of. I’ve seen him be a warrior before, although never on a stage like this. He played the game of his life, on both ends of the floor, offensively and defensively.”
Carter was the only Gaels player to score in double digits, finishing with 13 points. Manogue’s defense was the key Thursday. It gave Gorman just 38 shots in the contest. The Gaels made 18. The Miners shot 17-of-54.
Manogue forced 18 turnovers while committing only 12 and it hung tough on the boards against the much taller opponent. Gorman won the boards by a slim 31-29 margin.
“We had worked on a zone all week and were going to play a 1-3-1 and disguise it like a man,” Ballinger said. “But we were so bad at disguising it, I said let’s just go man and make everything difficult.”
Manogue will play Canyon Springs tonight in the 4A boys final at 8 p.m.