“Every day in practice coach tells me to just go at it, give it your hardest and eventually something good’s going to come of it,” he said. “The whole day I was going around thinking we’re going to win.”
It was a 17-5 run to end the third quarter that changed everything, and the Tigers were getting baskets from everywhere.
Perriott scored, then Blake Hardman, then Clark with back-to-back 2s, then John Michael Benardello with a circus layup before the Wolves finally answered with a 3-pointer from Austin Zackery to push the lead back to 34-30.
Then Michael Patterson answered with a deuce, then Perriott again and then Benardello came through with what might have been the game’s two biggest shots, closing the third quarter with a 3-pointer to put the Tigers up 37-34 and, after Curran Scott hit the first basket of the fourth quarter, another 3 that put the Tigers up 40-36.
Though NHS was given plenty of chances to fall back into the lovable loser’s role, it took none of them. Over the last 4 minutes, Santa Fe never even had possession with a chance to tie the game.
“We just all came together and had faith in each other and we got the win,” Benardello said, like a four-win team beating a 17-win team is just that simple.
Maybe it was.
NHS led on the boards, was miles more accurate from the floor than Santa Fe and turned it over only twice the length of the second half. If that’s what faith can do for a team, it’s bound to win a bunch of games.
Scott led the Wolves with 19 points and Daren Mims added 15 for Santa Fe, which attempted more 3-pointers than 2-pointers, seemingly forever unsure how to attack a Tiger zone that allowed precious few possessions into the paint.