It couldn’t and shouldn’t have ended any other way.
In a game that went back-and-fourth from tip to final gun with the two teams seldom separated by more than a point or two throughout, Brandon Valley came up huge in the final two minutes to defeat Sioux Falls O’Gorman 54-47 to claim the Class AA State Boys Championship on Saturday night at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
The win capped off a triumphant night for Brandon Valley High School basketball as the Brandon Valley girls defeated Sioux Falls Lincoln earlier in the evening for the title as well.
In a game well-worthy of a state title game, Brandon Valley (19-5, and the No. 4-seed) took charge midway through the fourth quarter behind the stellar play of sophomore guard Jackson Hilton and senior Carter Olthoff, the games leading scorer with 21 points.
Trailing 37-35, Hilton drained back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Lynx up 41-37.
“Coming out of the timeout, we were a little nervous since they were coming back,” Hilton said. “But coach just said run a play for Jackson and try to get him open, and I decided to shoot the three and I made it.”
O’Gorman, a winner over Yankton in a controversial last-second victory on Friday night, characteristically rallied back to draw even at 42-all as Jack Cartwright knocked down a 3-pointer and Zach Norton scored on a drive to the hoop.
Carter Olthoff responded for Brandon Valley with a couple of free throws, Hilton drew a foul and canned two charity tosses as well.
And after a Akoi Akoi layup spun around and out on the other end, Hilton knocked down a pull-up jumper from the free throw line to extend the Brandon Valley lead to 49-44.
“I honestly didn’t think it was going to go in,” Hilton said of his 13th and final point of the night with 10 points coming in the final period. “I thought it was a little short because he tipped it, but I got a lucky bounce I guess.”
After a Olthoff free throw, Knight Luke Ronsiek canned a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left though Olthoff salted away the state title with four free throw in the final seconds.
“We knew we just needed one or two more stops and we had the game in the bag,” Olthoff said. “And it was a lot of fun knowing that I could shoot free throws and put the game away.”
Gavin Terhark came off the bench to score 15 points for Brandon Valley while Ronsiek, the hero of the Knight’s Friday night win, led O’Gorman (18-6) with 15 points including three 3-pointers at crucial times, and Akoi reached double figures as well with 11 points.