Rocklin beats buzzer, Roseville in OT

Thunder answers Tigers’ go-ahead layup in final seconds, will meet Granite Bay for share of SFL title
By: Robbie Enos/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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ROSEVILLE — Math is a tough opponent to beat. With 7.5 seconds left and a one-point deficit, the odds were against Rocklin High School at Roseville.

The Thunder had to inbound the ball from the opposite end, in overtime, with a crowded Roseville student section screaming at it. As it turned out, the math in this game was a little weak.

Rocklin’s Devin Moss took the inbounds pass, traveled coast to coast and finished with a pretty layup on the other end to cement an 82-81 Sierra Foothill League victory at Moeller Gym.

The final play shocked the Tigers (20-6 overall, 5-4 SFL), who took the lead on Matt Tawlks’ driving layup on the previous possession.

“We just went for a screen up top,” Moss said. “I just wanted to get into the open and see if I could create. That’s my main role, to create for me and my teammates. Jake (Faulkner) set a great screen, and it just all worked out. We believed the whole time that we were going to win.”

Said Rocklin coach Casey Cutts, “We executed exactly what I wanted. I wanted Devin coming downhill with an open floor, and our guys did a great job of getting him open. Drew (Ardissone) threw a great pass, Jake set a great screen, Devin attacked with a whole head of steam, and then Hayden (Cook) actually drew the post defender, and Devin was able to finish.”

Moss’ layup was one of many game-changing plays. Roseville’s Will White found Marcus Garcia for a wide-open three-pointer with 1:35 remaining, erasing a 40-32 halftime deficit. Roman Tyukayev then found an open Daniel Rios for another three-pointer to tie the score at 66 with 43 seconds left in regulation.

White missed two free throws and Moss missed a three-pointer in the final seconds of regulation.

It seemed like it was all Rocklin (18-8, 6-3) after Taylor Cherry hit a layup and one, giving the Thunder a seven-point lead.

“You’ve got to give Rocklin credit. They took the ball to the basket on us,” Roseville coach Greg Granucci said. “We got some stops when we needed it down the stretch because we play with synergy. Moss made a great play at the end, but I thought the game was won by them early on. They came out harder than we did.”

But the Tigers fired back, this time with a Bryce Crouch three-pointer. Moss hit two free throws to make it a four-point game with 32.9 seconds left. Crouch made another big play on the next possession, grabbing a missed three-pointer, making a layup and drawing a foul. His free throw pulled Roseville within 80-79.

The Tigers messed with Rocklin’s inbound on the following possession, and the Thunder juggled the ball out of bounds. Tawlks’ layup gave Roseville an 81-80 lead.

“I really think it was just not giving up,” Cutts said. “There are a lot of times where a team would give up a lead like that and then just crumble. But when we came in after the timeout, guys were looking at me and they said, ‘Coach, we’re going to win this.’ We drew up a play, they executed it, and they just didn’t stop believing.”

Moss finished with 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Ardissone scored 19 points, and Cook grabbed 10 rebounds.

Crouch led the Tigers with 18 points. Tyukayev scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Tawlks scored 15 points, Rios 14 and Garcia 12.

Rocklin trails Granite Bay by one game with Tuesday’s regular-season finale remaining at home against the Grizzlies.