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Cooper gives Cowboys win in OT

The Camp Verde Journal of Camp Verde, Arizona

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In one of the more thrilling high school games one could ever attend, the Camp Verde High boys basketball team pulled (out a nail-biter on the road against Phoenix Country Day School, claiming the victory in overtime Friday, Jan. 30, 63-62.

"If you were a fan watching the game, it was a fun one to watch. Even us coaches enjoyed it, as it was well . played by both teams," Camp Verde head coach Darren Gagnon said.

A few weeks back, on Jan. 10, the Eagles stole one from Camp Verde on their home floor by the final score of 51-50.

Gagnon and his fiesty bunch of Cowboys decided it was payback time in front of a good Phoenix Country Day home crowd and took the win right from the Eagles' grasp.

In the first quarter Camp Verde came out firing to take a 15-12 lead heading into the second quarter.

Foul trouble was not a part of this game for either team, allowing the best players to present a game fans would grow to love.

The Eagles, however, came out in the second quarter determined not to allow Camp Verde anything easy and outscored the Cowboys 19-10 to take a 31-25 lead at the break.

"I hated the last loss we had to these guys, and when we were down at halftime, I was confidant the boys would remember how it felt before," Gagnon said.

Camp Verde certainly did remember how the ugly loss felt just a few weeks ago and came out like barn burners to score 24 points in the third quarter, allowing only 13 to take a 49-44 lead with eight minutes to go.

In the final period, wits were challenged and physical play was plentiful as both teams were in no mood to lose this game.

"You could see it was going to come down to a great finish," Gagnon said.

Execution is key in the last seconds of a basketball game, and that's exactly what Camp Verde was looking to do.

With 43 seconds to go in the game and the score tied at 59-59, Camp Verde freshman Jake Spleiss stole the ball right from an Eagles player to give his Cowboys what they had hoped would be a final possession.

After a Gagnon time-out, Camp Verde ran their offense a few times and then called another time-out with only a few seconds to go in the game.

"I wasn't looking to give them the last shot, so we needed to come out and execute," Gagnon said.

In the game, Phoenix Country Day hit 10 three-point baskets, putting fear into the Cowboys that if they did get a last shot, it would be a three and it probably would go down.

Camp Verde executed, however, and sophomore Shaquile Watahomigie drove to his right and pulled up from 17 feet away just missing, sending the game into overtime.

"He had a good look but just missed," Gagnon said.

In overtime, neither team could do much with the first two minutes, but with 2:45 to go the Eagles drilled one of those three-point baskets to take a 62-59 lead.

Camp Verde immediately sprinted up the court to get a quick shot, and senior Seth Mosley was, there to clean up the miss and put a bucket in to make it 62-61 with a minute to go-Up by one, Phoenix Country Day went into a stall, but the Cowboys were ready for it and clamped down on the Eagles to get a defensive stop and possession of the ball with a few seconds to go.

On the offensive end, sophomore guard Trey Cooper found a seam in the Eagles defense and attacked the basket, beating his man off the dribble, and putting in a reverse lay up to give his Cowboys a 63-62 lead.

Phoenix Country Day tried a desperation heave, but it was no good as the Cowboys went on to victory.

"What a game. Everyone played well on both sides. Everything went just right for us to get the win," Gagnon said.

Standouts included Mosley, who had a game-high 18 points and 14 rebounds, while senior Zach Parsons had 14 points and Cooper had 13 points.

Senior Austin Hudson had seven points, and Spleiss added seven as well in the victory.

With the victory, Camp Verde improves its record to 15-12 overall on the season including a 6-6 mark in 2A-Central region play.

Camp Verde is ranked No. 17 in the state, according to

the Arizona Interscholastic Association power point rankings, which were released on Monday, Feb, 2.

Copyright 2009 The Camp Verde Journal, Camp Verde, Arizona. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: February 4, 2009

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