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Metea Valley's Bryson Oliver, steals the ball away from Waubonsie Valley's Dylan Warden on Saturday, December 15, 2012 at Waubonise Valley High School in Aurora IL. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
Metea Valley had seen this picture before and didn’t like the ending.
Fortunately for the Mustangs, it was not a case of deja vu. Host Waubonsie Valley had four chances to score the winning basket Saturday night but none of them dropped as Metea Valley held on for a thrilling 49-48 Upstate Eight Valley victory.
It was the second year in a row the two teams had battled to the end on the same floor. The Warriors won by one on a last-second layup last year and were facing a similar situation this time.
Vin Patel’s two free throws had given Metea a 49-46 lead with 28 seconds left before Jared Brownridge scored on a drive and was fouled with :18 remaining. Brownridge missed the free throw, got the rebound and had a short shot swatted out of bounds by Metea’s Hayden Barnard.
After a timeout, the Warriors had three cracks at the winner, but a 10-foot baseline jumper by Bryan Jefferson, a tip try by Brownridge and finally a turnaround eight-footer in the lane b Matt Gialamas at the buzzer all rimmed out.
“Those last 10 seconds lasted two minutes,” Metea Valley coach Bob Vozza said. “It was such a scramble at the end. It could have gone either way but you want to be on this end of a winner. That’s the way a high school game should end, with 10 people scrambling on the floor trying to get the victory.”
The ending was way too scary for Metea Valley senior Sean Davis, who was in the middle of that scramble and was haunted by memories of last year’s contest.
“We were just really worried because last year they got us on a similar play,” Davis said. “It was a slip, everyone focused on Jared and they slipped to the basket for an easy layup.
“Every time the ball tipped around the basket I was like, ‘no, not again, not again,’ and it came out and we got the win.”
Vozza saw that the Warriors were in a similar alignment to last year’s game and planned accordingly.
“When we were in the timeout, Coach just said to watch the slip, Tray [Taylor] is going to get through it, which he did,” Davis said.
Taylor, a 5-10 senior guard, had the tough task of stopping the Santa Clara-bound Brownridge and he held him scoreless until late in the third quarter. It was Taylor who came down with the final rebound, the last of his seven on the night.
Davis scored nine of his game-high 16 points in the first quarter for Metea (6-4, 4-1), which won its fifth straight game. Patel had 10 points before fouling out and Melvin Meeks tallied all seven of his points in the second half.
“This team has got amazing heart,” Davis said. “We got off to a poor start but we’re picking it up. Everybody has to watch out for us now.”
Jefferson had 12 points, five rebounds and three steals to lead Waubonsie (6-4, 2-3), which rallied from a 10-point deficit to tie the game at 37 early in the fourth quarter but was unable to take the lead. Brownridge finished with eight points and six boards.