The sigh may not have been audible, but it was definitely there.
“You can’t quit on a play,” Bonneville junior Jordan Perez said. “You just keep playing, even if you have your ups and downs in a game.”
In a back-forth boys basketball game Friday night between Bonneville and host Thunder Ridge, missed free throws and turnovers looked like they would be the determining factor in the closing minutes.
Perez was actually involved in both in the final 20 seconds. With the Bees holding a 58-56 lead, Perez, who already had a rough night at the line, was intentionally fouled and missed both of his free throws. As the Titans charged down court for a potential winning or game-tying shot, the ball was knocked loose and Perez leaped over the end line, saved the ball, and tossed it back to a teammate.
It proved the key redemptive moment in the game as Bonneville then hit its free throws to close out a 61-59 victory.
“Once I saw the ball go up I said “Ahhh, I got this,” Perez said. “It was a good team win.”
The game was close for the first half, but Bonneville (7-10) starting getting to the rim and pulling down offensive rebounds in the third quarter to extend its lead to 42-30 on a tip-in by Randon Hostert.
Thunder Ridge (8-10) closed the third with a 7-1 run, and the drama amped up in the fourth. Bonneville held onto its lead until midway through the quarter when a free throw by Connor Haycock put the Titans up 53-52. Riley Judy, who finished with 16 points, got inside for a score and a 58-56 lead for the Bees, setting up the final rush.
“After we got that big lead in the third quarter we kind of got complacent, just going through the motions,” Perez said.
Bonneville led 22-14 in the second quarter before the Titans’ defensive pressure forced turnovers and sparked a 10-0 run. Treyton Howell hit a 3-pointer that put the Titans up 24-22.
The Bees responded strong to close the half with Judy knocking down back-to-back 3-pointers to send the Bees into the break up 28-24.
“We came down and we just had too many turnovers down the stretch,” Thunder Ridge coach Lee Toldson said.
Hostert led the Bees with 18 points.
The loss snapped a two-game losing streak for Bonneville and snapped a two-game win streak for the Titans.
Thunder Ridge hosts Madison next Friday. Bonneville hosts Idaho Falls on Wednesday.