A Little Bit of Everything
The fight for the Class 4A State Championship will certainly go down as one of the wildest basketball games in high school basketball.
The Santa Fe Raiders (20-5) entered the title game for the first time in the school’s history. Their opponent, the Pine Crest Panthers (20-1), has won the title three times.
In a game that had deep three-point shots, dominance in the paint, big defensive stands, and energizing dunks it was only fitting for it to take two overtime periods to decide a winner.
Pine Crest took to title by a score of 90-83 behind a massive 43 point performance from Panthers junior Amen Thompson.
Thompson Twins Take it From the Start
The Thompson Twins, Amen and Ausar, immediately showed why they are ranked 37th and 38th, respectively, in the 2022 recruiting class.
The two combined for 12 of the Panthers 16 first-quarter points. Giving Pine Crest a 16-14 lead.
After a missed shot by the Panthers, Jenkins grabbed the ball and began to push down the court. With Ross out in front, Jenkins passed the ball to the senior who continued full speed toward the basket, rose up, and threw it down over Ausar Thompson for the basket and the foul.
Maybe this is why they call him Poppa…
— ᴊᴀᴋᴇ ᴘᴇʀᴘᴇʀ (@JakePerper) March 6, 2021
The Thompson Twins quickly responded and helped push the Panthers to a 38-29 lead at the half, combining for 30 points.
Panthers in Foul Trouble
After going down 13 points early in the second half, Santa Fe’s Dontrell Jenkins put in a step-back three-pointer which was followed by NC-State commit Ernest Ross who knocked down a floater to cut the score to a 45-38.
Pine Crest senior Leo Ghiloni fouled out of the game just 30 seconds into the fourth quarter and Ausar Thompson wasn’t far behind. Thompson was called for tripping Santa Fe’s Mason Brown, putting Thompson (20 points) out of the game.
With each team exchanging baskets, Pine Crest was up by two with just 26 seconds left.
After two missed free throws from Pine Crest’s Amen Thompson, the Raiders brought the ball up the court with the clock winding down.
Santa Fe’s Dontrell Jenkins brought the ball up the court, dribbled to his left, and passed the ball to senior Cayvian Wakeley. The senior rose up over the Panther’s defender to put in a three-pointer with just 13 seconds left, giving the Raiders the one-point lead.
Amen Thompson quickly got the ball and dribbled down the court, drawing a shooting foul with 4.7 seconds remaining. Thompson missed the first but knocked down the second to tie it up and send the game to overtime.
Drama in OT
Santa Fe exploded at the start of overtime with a 7-0 run
Ross put the first points on the board and Jenkins followed with yet another three-pointer to go up by five.
The Raiders expanded their lead to seven as senior Willie Lewis banked in a layup, forcing a Pine Crest timeout. With just 43 seconds remaining, Santa Fe led Pine Crest 73-65.
Out of the timeout, Amen Thompson hit a quick three-pointer, followed by a tough finish in the paint. Thompson got the ball again and pulled up from behind the arc, this time getting fouled. Down by three with a chance to tie, Thompson made the first and second shot but missed the third.
Pine Crest senior Eros Carpio snagged the offensive rebound and got the ball to Thompson who got fouled again.
Now at the line with a chance to win the game, Thompson missed the first. But with the game on the line knocked down the second to tie it up at 73.
When One Overtime Isn’t Enough
With 1:30 left to play in the second overtime period, Santa Fe and Pine Crest were tied at 81 points.
Pine Crest junior Isaiah Ramsey got fouled while shooting a three. At the line, Ramsey made all three shots to put the Panthers up by two.
The Panthers never looked back.
After knocking down their shots from the free-throw line, the Panthers saw their 4th state championship come by a score of 90-83.
Pine Crest Panthers
Amen Thompson: 43 points (20-28 FT)
Ausar Thompson 20 points (16 points in the first half)
Santa Fe Raiders
Dontrell Jenkins: 31 points (8 threes)
Ernest Ross: 18 points, 15 rebounds