NAMPA – Fouled at the buzzer on a three-quarter court shot in a triple overtime win in the first round, two-tenths of a second from being forced into overtime on a half-court shot in the state championship game.
Could there be any denying Buhl was a team of destiny?
The Indians won their third state boys basketball title, the first since 1979, beating Homedale 59-56 in a game better than the final score.
Senior Kade Crossland sunk a go-ahead 3-pointer with 24 seconds left off of a Hayden Eckert miss, and Homeland's desperation full-court shot – off an inbound with 0.2 seconds – went in but was ruled no good. Rules require a minimum of 0.3 seconds to execute anything more than a tip-in.
"My heart stopped," Michael Lively said of the no-good heave.
The Crossland go-ahead 3-pointer seemed a bit of fate, too, as the point guard Eckert not only tipped out his own miss against the length of the Trojans, but found Buhl's best shooter and the best player in 3A, at least for the night, in his sweet spot.
"It bounced out," Eckert said. "I saw Kade out there and I tried to tip it out. I saw him out of the corner of my eye in my peripheral vision. The ball in Kade's hands, I trust him with it."
"It is my favorite spot," said Crossland, often matched-up with the 3A Player of the Year and Weber State signee, 6-foot-6 Lane Sale. "It was just kind of bouncing away. Top of the key, I've probably hit that shot more than any other shot. I wanted to go out with a bang my senior year."
The Indians looked overmatched early against the long and active Trojans, who were hot in the first quarter.
But after 47 minutes of battling deficits Thursday night, Buhl outscored Homedale 29-18 after the first quarter, and wouldn't be denied down the stretch.
"What stands out is coming back from an 11-0 start in the state championship game, a triple overtime game in the first round," said head coach Dan Winn said, who played at Buhl and won his first championship as player or coach Thursday night. "When you get down 11-0 in a championship game your team does one of two things: they get it back or they fall away and get scared and it’s over."
Crossland, who is looking for a college where he can both golf and play basketball, scored 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting in his last high school game.
Buhl 59, Homedale 56
Homedale 17 12 16 11 —56
Buhl 12 17 14 16 —59
Freelove 0-4 0-2 0, Carter 1-1 0-0 2, Sale 5-8 2-2 12, Lane 2-10 2-2 6, Lowder 4-14 1-3 12, Oviedo 9-15 0-2 21, Carter 1-1 0-0 3. Totals: 22-53 5-9 56.
Eckert 3-13 4-5 11, De Kruyf 1-3 0-1 2, Tonge 1-1 2-2 4, Lively 1-4 2-2 4, Kade Crossland 9-16 2-3 25, Kasey Crossland 4-7 2-2 13. Totals: 19-44 12-15 59.
3-point goals: Homedale 7-20 (Freelove 0-2, Sale 0-1, Lane 0-5, Lowder 3-5, Oviedo 3-6, Carter 1-1) Buhl 9-18 (Eckert 1-4, Kade Crossland 5-9, Kasey Crossland 3-5). Team rebounds: Homedale 33 (Sale 6) Buhl 29 (Kade Crossland 8). Team fouls: Homedale 14, Buhl 14. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: Homedale 7, Buhl 12. Assists: Homedale 11 (Lane 4), Buhl 11 (Eckert 6)