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DIVISION IV BOYS: Spring Mountain holds off Adelson School’s late charge

Spring Mountain’s boys basketball team appeared to be well on its way to victory with just less than four minutes remaining in Saturday’s Division IV Southern League championship game.

The Golden Eagles held a 13-point lead against Adelson School and were trying to dribble time off the clock.

And suddenly, they were holding on for dear life.

Key free throws by George Brown and a steal and layup by Harlow Hawkins with 3.8 seconds left helped Spring Mountain survive for a 74-69 win over the Lions at Sunrise Mountain. Both the Golden Eagles (14-3) and Adelson (17-2) will compete in next week’s state tournament in Reno.

“It got shaky,” said Spring Mountain coach Ed Cheltenham, whose team won its second league title in three years. “It was just inexperience. We tried to stall, and we let them in the door.”

David Otuafi’s stick-back basket with 3:56 to play gave Spring Mountain a 66-53 lead.

But the Lions, who defeated Spring Mountain 40-36 in the regular season, refused to go away. Sean Perry scored seven points, and Jake Buchman added five points during a 14-2 run that pulled the Lions within 68-67 with 1:35 to go.

After a free throw by Hawkins, Brown hit 2 of 2 free throws with 50.1 seconds left to extend the lead to 71-67.

Jacob Elharar hit two free throws with 9.9 seconds to go to bring the Lions within 71-69.

Brown hit 1 of 2 free throws a second later, and as Adelson was trying to advance for a potential tying shot, Hawkins stripped the ball free near midcourt and cruised in for a layup.

“We’ve been doing that all season,” Cheltenham said of his team’s ability to recover. “We’ve had a bunch of close games.”

Otuafi hit four 3-pointers and had 18 points to lead Spring Mountain. Devonte Richey added 13 points, and Hawkins and Lagarrian Jones each scored 10 for the Golden Eagles. Jones also grabbed 18 rebounds.

“I think we can carry the momentum into next week,” Cheltenham said. “Because of the style of play that we play, I think we’ll be OK. We have a strong bench, and I can go three deep at any position.”

Perry and Buchman each had 20 points, and Elharar scored 17 for Adelson, which lost for the first time since a Dec. 10 setback against Calvary Chapel.

“I’m proud of our guys,” said Adelson coach Rob Blackwell, whose team was making its first league final appearance. “We continued to play as a team. We play with all of our energy and together, from start to finish. If we win a couple more 50-50 balls and shoot a little better from the free-throw line, we really change the complexion of this game.”

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