SACRAMENTO -- It all ended in tears for the St. Joseph Notre Dame High boys basketball team.
The stunned Pilots collapsed to the floor after Horizon Christian-San Diego guard Ethan Underwood sank a 30-foot shot at the buzzer to give the Panthers a 47-46 win in Friday's Division V state championship game at Sleep Train Arena.
St. Joseph, which a week before celebrated a third consecutive Northern Regional title, seemingly had this game in hand. The imposing Pilots led 45-36 with 35 seconds left, and 46-42 with 14 seconds remaining. Then Horizon snatched it away.
"You saw the players," St. Joseph coach Don Lippi said after the game. "That's why I do this, because they hurt. They hurt, and that means they
The Pilots missed four straight free throws in the final 11 seconds to open the door, also missing numerous layups.
After St. Joseph sophomore Marcus Harris missed his second of two free throw attempts with four seconds left, Darren Carrington got the rebound and passed to Underwood, who swished the shot from beyond the NBA arc. He was mobbed by his teammates.
St. Joseph 6-foot-6 junior center Temidayo Yussuf had a game-high 20 points and a Division V finals-record 19 rebounds, but could hardly bring himself to look up in the somber aftermath.
Both offenses struggled against determined, well-built defenses. The Pilots' rugged two-three zone forced
Horizon coach Tyrone Hopkins said his team, which scored the final seven points Friday, had won five or six times this season at the buzzer. He described Underwood as "having ice water in his veins." The Panthers (23-11) had no timeouts left on the final play, a play that was designed to go to another player.
"These guys are never out of a game. They always believe," Hopkins said.
Lippi said his players have done "everything that I've asked them to do, and then a 30-foot throw wins the game, but that's why they call it March Madness."
St. Joseph (25-12) was seeking a fifth state title overall in its ninth appearance in the finals. The Pilots' previous championships came in 1991 and 1992, when they were coached by Frank LaPorte and featured Jason Kidd; and in 2004 and 2011.
St. Joseph led 39-33 with 5:20 left in the fourth quarter after a Harris field goal.
The lead was 43-37 after Yussuf's putback with 2:37 left. A steal by Lamont Banks led to his making one of two free throws, upping the margin to 46-39.
Horizon, which earned its fourth state title, cut the deficit to 46-42 on Underwood's 3-pointer with 14 seconds left.
Yussuf missed two free throws three seconds later, and Carrington went the length of the court for an uncontested layup with 5.1 remaining.
Remarkably, Lippi said he'd never previously lost a game at the buzzer in his 35 years of coaching, save a summer league game in 1980 at Bishop O'Dowd, "because I didn't guard the inbound pass," he explained.