The Desert Vista boys basketball team has come a long way in one season, but it doesn’t help the sudden end to it all.
The Thunder’s season ended Saturday night in the Class 5A Division I quarterfinals after a difficult 74-73 loss to top-seeded Sierra Vista Buena.
Ninth-seeded Desert Vista (22-9) led with less than two minutes remaining but couldn’t close it out against Buena (25-4). Devonte Malcolm scored 24 for Buena and Marcus Mears added 20.
“Discipline was factor, but they played hard,” first-year coach Dave Williams said by cell phone. “We were one game away from the Final Four. That was OK, but I am not happy with that.”
The Thunder went 19-32 in the previous two years and played this season mostly with players who will be back in uniform for Desert Vista next year.
“I can’t wait to get my hands on them again,” Williams said.
Desert Vista took a 68-66 lead on a three by Khamari Broom late in the game.
Buen's Marc Matthews, who scored 19, tied the game at 68 with 1:44 left in the game.
Buena coach Dave Glasgow said that basket changed the momentum.
"Both teams were making plays at the end but we just made one or two more," Glasgow told the Arizona Daily Star.
The Thunder's Jeff Lowery missed a three and Buena's Marcus Mears, who scored 20 in the win, rushed up court, hit a jumper from the line to give Buena a 70-68 lead with just under a minute left.
Desert Vista failed to respond and sent Mears to line after the rebound. He hit both free throws with 32.1 seconds left to extend the lead to four.
The Thunder got a basket on its next possession but then sent Merle Branch to the line. He also hit both shots to put the score at 74-70 with 13.6 seconds left.
Desert Vista rushed up court and Steve Klein hit a desperation three with four seconds left to make it 74-73.
But then the Colts ran out the remaining seconds.
The Arizona Daily Star contributed to this story.