Fresh off recording its first playoff victory in five years, Deer Valley's boys basketball team won't mind some extra running in practice Thursday.
The Skyhawks are happy to still be practicing after falling behind Phoenix South Mountain 11 points in the third quarter of Wednesday's 5A-II first-round playoff game. No. 6 seed Deer Valley (16-9) came all the way back, leading briefly in the fourth quarter before forcing overtime, and finished off No. 11 South Mountain (14-13) 58-54.
Junior forward Tre Ogles was a key component of the comeback, putting in 12 of his 16 points after returning to the game midway through the fourth quarter. He's also the reason the Skyhawks are will run Thursday. Ogles picked up a technical in the second quarter for complaining about being fouled when he grabbed a rebound.
"The kids stepped up when I took Tre out the two quarters for the technical. I left it up the kids - I don't play kids after they get a technical - so I called a timeout and left it up to everyone on the team. I said, 'if I put him in, we're running five miles tomorrow,'" Deer Valley coach Jed Dunn said. "They were like, 'let's go with it.' I took it down to two miles for tomorrow. And he helped us, obviously."
Ogles was on the finishing end of the comeback that senior guard Connor Cotterman started. Deer Valley had all kind of trouble with South Mountain's lanky front line, three-quarter court press and half-court traps in the first half, falling behind 23-14 halftime.
The Jaguars weren't much more efficient on offense, but established a comfortable lead thanks to steady play by senior guard Markel Devorce (eight points) and a second-quarter spark by junior forward Hanok Tekest (seven points).
"We were just frazzled in the beginning and didn't know how to break the press, but once we got it together we were able to go to the basket like we've done all season," Ogles said.
Cotterman scored the Skyhawks first six points, then went cold for the rest of the half. Dunn made a strategic adjustment to get his leading scorer more looks against the Jaguars diamond-and-one defensive alignment.
"We put Connor in the middle against their diamond. Connor will attack from that spot," Dunn said. "He was big in the second half with some major steals."
The change would come into play later, but Cotterman started the rally with sheer effort. Trailing 27-16, he took the ball to the hole, drew the foul and hit two free throws.
On the next possession, Cotterman drew the defense and found senior guard Devante Kyle for a layup and a foul. Kyle completed the three-point play. Then Cotterman picked off a pass, drove, hesitated and laid the ball in.
Suddenly, Deer Valley trailed by four.
"If we lost this is my last game so I figured why not try to get something going," Cotterman said.
Then, the rest of the Skyhawks got into the act. Senior swingman Darius Watkins answered senior forward Ronald Tademy's bucket, then, after Devorce scored again, drew Tademy's fourth foul and hit both free throws.
Watkins matched up most of the night with Tademy and Tekest, keeping the bigger Jaguars from controlling the offensive boards. He and Cotterman grabbed a team-high eight rebounds each, and Ogles and junior forward Auston Hillman added six apiece.
"We knew that (Devorce and Tekest) were their main guys. We were trying to double them, but they were really good at getting the ball back. Losing (Tademy) really hurt them and Connor did a nice job getting some fouls on him," Dunn said. "I had a feeling Darius would do good. He and Auston were really big on the boards for us. I forgot about Devante, who's our defensive anchor, on the bench because Darius was playing so well."
With 1:11 left in the third quarter, Cotterman's three cut the lead to two. But junior Andrew Richardson answered with a three to finish the period.
South Mountain built its lead to 44-36 before Cotterman hit an unusual trifecta. He made a layup, drew Tademy's fifth foul and hit his free throw with 5:30 left.
Next it was Nick Klyana's turn. The junior stole two straight passes, finishing with a layup the first time and assisting the recently-returned Ogles after the second steal.
Cotterman made one of two free throws to tie the game at 44 at the 4:49 mark. Then Ogles again finished after a teammate's - this time Kyle's - steal to put Deer Valley up two.
"We just had to figure out to attack them and get the right angles, because they're much longer than us," Ogles said. "But once we went to the basket hard, we were able to finish."
Tekest scored two straight baskets to regain the lead. Ogles grabbed a steal and made a layup to tie. Devorce made one of two from the line.
With 47 seconds remaining, Ogles rebounded Cotterman's missed layup and followed to put the Skyhawks up 50-49. Sophomore forward Donzel Pittman responded a tip in of his own for his only two points.
Cotterman drew a foul on his drive with 10 seconds left and made the first at the line to tie. A lane violation wiped out the second shot, and neither team could get a good look before the buzzer.
Ogles scored early in the overtime, and South Mountain missed three of four free throws. Cotterman went one for two at the line. Then Tesket scoed in the post to tie at the 1:54 mark.
After bleeding a minute off the clock, Cotterman drove to the middle, drew an extra defender and spotted Ogles open along the baseline. His driving layup was the game winner.
"I figured if I took it in they were going to collapse on defense because they thought I was going to shoot it," Cotterman said. "He's usually right there running the baseline and they let him go."
Ogles picked up a steal but Klyana got off kilter and missed a layup. The ball rolled off a South Mountain player, and Ogles scored quickly to seal the win.
Tesket (18 points) and Devorce (15 points) were the only two Jaguars in double figures. Cotterman finished with a game-high 21 points.
He's the most seasoned Skyhawk, despite not being on the 2010 team that lost to Boulder Creek in the first round. Cotterman played for the 2009 Phoenix St. Mary's state championship team.
Saturday, he'll lead Deer Valley against No. 3 Fairfax at 8825 S. 59th Ave., Laveen. With a win in that game, the Skyhawks will be on the big stage at Jobing.com Arena next week.
"I'm trying to get back to that arena," Cotterman said. "We've got a pretty good chance. The top eight teams (in 5A-II) can beat each other any night."