Jahii Carson knew 6.6 seconds was plenty of time to race down the length of the court.
Now everyone else does, too.
The Mesa point guard’s mad dash and buzzer-beating layup ended a sensational game between two 5A-I powers, with the No. 2 Jackrabbits pulling out a 92-90 overtime victory over No. 1 Phoenix North on Thursday at North.
The game seesawed back and forth the entire time, and the ending was no different.
Mesa had a two-point lead with 17 seconds left, but North’s Daniel Bejarano had a chance to win the game after scoring a layup and getting fouled with 6.6 seconds left.
His free throw rimmed out and Carson took advantage, racing coast-to-coast for a layup over the outstretched arms of Bejarano as time expired in the overtime period.
The bucket set off pandemonium from the Mesa side, with Carson being lifted on his teammates’ shoulders.
The Jackrabbits called timeout before Bejarano’s free throw and Carson was told to get the ball and push it.
“When we do layups in practice, I know I have three dribbles to get up and down the court,” Carson said. “I knew that if nobody stopped me, I could get to the rack.”
The game would have never gotten to this point without Bejarano’s heroics.
He had a quiet first three quarters, but came alive with 11 points in the fourth, including a 3-pointer with eight seconds left to send the game into overtime.
He finished with 29 points, 20 of which came in the fourth quarter and overtime, five rebounds and five assists.
Carson had 31 points and four steals for Mesa.
The biggest lead for either side in overtime was a four-point advantage for North with under two minutes to play.
A pair of Carson free throws cut it to a bucket, and Danny Powell hit a 3-pointer to give the Jackrabbits (4-0) an 87-86 lead with 56 seconds left.
Bejarano had North’s last seven points of overtime, including the game-tying bucket, but he couldn’t make the free throw or stop Carson.
Despite this being early December, Mesa coach Shane Burcar said the game had significant impact.
“We’re not going to pretend it wasn’t a big game,” Burcar said. “We were fired up. In our opinion, No. 1 was on the line ... and of course you want to be No. 1.”