In the season opener on Monday night, Mesa boys basketball forward Felipe Velazco missed a 3-pointer which would have beaten Hamilton.
On Saturday, he figured out a tip-in is an easier way to sink the game-winner.
Velazco tapped in an Isaac Allen miss with 12 seconds to go as the second-ranked Jackrabbits defeated No. 7 Gilbert, 51-50 in overtime, to win the Fear the Hop tournament at Mesa.
Gilbert point guard Anthony Bryant had a chance to win it for the Tigers but he missed a floater on the other end. Both teams finished the tournament 3-1.
“It was good to bounce back,” Velazco said. “I was just trying to make up for what I didn’t do the past couple of days.”
Without Christian Harris, Mesa would have never forced overtime. He only scored three points through the first three quarters but scored the final 10 of regulation — including a tying 3-pointer with 10 seconds left — to boost the Jackrabbits.
Dan Richards, D.J. Henderson and Allen also scored in spurts and it could be a common theme for Mesa, which has several different players capable of shouldering the scoring load on any given night.
“That’s exactly who we are,” Mesa coach Shane Burcar said. “To be honest, it depends on who the hot hand is. That’s who we go to.”
Conner Helvig had 17 points and gave Gilbert a 49-47 lead with a lay-up in overtime, but Mesa’s D.J. Henderson tied it up with two free throws with 45.5 seconds remaining.
Bryant hit one of two free throws to give the Tigers a 50-49 lead with 27.8 seconds left, which set up Velazco’s heroics.
The game was close throughout, as Mesa’s 27-21 lead with 6:34 left in the third quarter was the largest margin.
“Just a great game,” Burcar said.
Gilbert forward Spencer Nicolds broke his nose early in the first quarter and did not return.