NHS boys win in OT against Marana

NHS boys come back in regulation, win in OT against Marana
Posted on 12/07/2021
NHS boys win in OT against MaranaVia Nogales International

Luis Avila hit a tie-breaking three-pointer with a little over a minute left in overtime and the Nogales Apaches boys basketball team tacked on four more points to beat the Marana Tigers 64-57 at home on Thursday night.

“It felt right. It felt like everything aligned perfectly and I felt great about the shot,” Avila said afterward about his game-deciding basket, one of several key shots he made as the Apaches came back in regulation and then dominated the overtime period.

Nogales trailed throughout the first three quarters of the game, falling behind by as many as 10 points early in the second half. But when Avila hit a three-pointer at the start of the fourth period, it cut the Marana lead to 48-46.

Edgardo Zubiate tied the game with a fast break bucket, and Avila put Nogales in front 50-48 with a baseline jumper with 5:50 remaining.

Asked about the key to the Apaches’ comeback, Avila put it simply: “Playing hard, a lot of heart. That’s it.”

After the Tigers tied it up at 50, Jose Luis Aguirre drove and scored to give the advantage back to NHS.

Then, after a Marana three-pointer put the visitors up by one, Avila answered with a three-pointer of his own to make it 55-53 Nogales.

Two free throws by the Tigers tied the score once again with 1:37 left, and two more foul shots put Marana in front 57-55 with just under a minute left on the clock.

The Apaches turned the ball over, but when Marana tried an inbounds play with 31 seconds left, Fernando Valenzuela stole the ball for Nogales and Aguirre broke free for a game-tying basket.

There was no more scoring and regulation time ended with the score knotted at 57.

During overtime, neither team scored for nearly three minutes until Avila hit his tie-breaking three-pointer. Two free throws by Aguirre with 38 seconds left put Nogales ahead by five and prompted the raucous NHS student section, many of whose members came to the game dressed in Hawaiian shirts and leis, to start chanting for Marana to “Start the buses!”

“It feels great” to have that kind of fan support, Avila said. “I like to feel loved.”

Avila capped off Nogales’ 7-0 overtime run with a layup that made the final score 64-57.

He finished the game with team highs of 19 points and 12 rebounds. Aguirre had 17 points, and Zubiate added nine points and five rebounds for the Apaches.

The win was the second in two nights for Nogales. On Wednesday, they topped Palo Verde 71-67 at home behind 20 points from Zubiate, 19 from Avila and 14 from Aguirre. The Apaches dropped their first game of the season on Nov. 29, falling 61-49 at Ironwood Ridge.

The team is set to play at Tucson High School on Monday evening, then host Sabino starting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 8.
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