Published: January 18, 2014
Cheyenne Mountain had every reason to quit, down as many as 10 points in the first half and as many as eight points in the fourth quarter. This wasn't a league game and the Indians were running on fumes in their second game in less than 20 hours.
And if that wasn't enough of a reason, their leading scorer, Ghassan Nehme, wasn't hitting on all cylinders like he had the night before.
Going into the fourth quarter, however, coach J'on St. Clair told his players to keep fighting and good things will come.
They listened, closing the game on an 18-9 run as Nehme scored six of his 22 points in the final five minutes, including his game-winner with five seconds remaining, as Cheyenne Mountain (8-3) shocked hosting Doherty (7-6) 54-53 Saturday afternoon.
"I'm so proud of our team. They took it on the chin a couple of times but were resilient," said St. Clair, whose team trailed 44-36 early into the fourth quarter. "I think these guys showed a lot of character."
Nehme, who scored a career-high 43 points in the 77-56 win over Lewis-Palmer on Friday night, led the charge down the stretch against Doherty.
Minutes into the fourth, the Montana-State commit set up a wide-open Cody McCurry below the hoop to cut the deficit to two, and then took the following possession to the rim on his own to tie the game at 44 with 4:58 remaining.
The Indians led by as many as three from there, but the Spartans kept pace with three 3-pointers in the final 3:30, and finally retook the lead on a Tynan Velasquez 3-pointer with 21 seconds to go.
Unfortunately for most of the fans inside Doherty's gym though, Nehme got the ball last. With one eye on the clock, he took his time down the court, walked it across the 3-point line and hit a 17-foot jumper to give Cheyenne Mountain its second consecutive win after losing its prior two.
"This is what I live for. This is why I put in all the hours of work and why I practice this situation a million times," said Nehme, who leads Class 4A in scoring, averaging 26 points. "It was just on a bigger stage today. But the individual stuff doesn't matter. It's all about this team and getting a 'W.'"
Shane Fox, who scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half, missed a half-court shot at the buzzer for the Spartans, who had not played since Monday.
"It's a difficult pill to swallow for sure," Doherty coach James Lane said. "It was a great high school basketball game though, and it just came down to the last team with the ball."