Warren's buzzer beater sends Gladstone to quarters
Gladstone's student section rushed the court after junior guard Lyric Warren knocked down a 3-pointer at the buzzer, lifting the Gladiators to a 26-25 home win over Sisters in Friday's opening round of the OSAA Class 4A boys' basketball playoffs.
Jose Rodriguez finished with a game-high 11 points and Warren added six as the Gladiators erased a seven-point deficit in the final 1:27 and advanced to Thursday's quarterfinals against top-ranked Seaside at Pacific University in Forest Grove.
"Getting to the final site is always something every team in the state wants to achieve," Gladstone coach Cody Akers said. "Now, we're kind of playing with some house money, considering almost everyone is expecting Seaside to run the table, whereas we get to go and have fun and play basketball.
"We played Seaside in our season opener, so we're familiar with what they do. It's a tall task for us, and we're looking forward to it."
Trailing 15-7 at halftime of Friday's game, the Gladiators leaned on some high-pressure defense and timely offense to outscore Sisters 10-3 in the third quarter make it a one-possession game, 18-17, going into the fourth.
"In the third quarter, we forced several turnovers just because we created tempo and created pressure that made them think more about handling the basketball than running a play," Akers said. "Offensively, we talked about getting the ball to the high post against Sisters' 2-3 zone and making sure to shoot it with confidence if we had an open look."
Gladstone trailed by two points, 25-23, when Rodriguez was fouled and went to the free-throw line for two shots with seven seconds to play and missed the first foul shot.
After a timeout, Rodriguez intentionally missed the second free throw, and Quinn Carl grabbed the rebound for Gladstone and was fouled.
Sisters still had a foul to give before putting Gladstone in the bonus, so the Outlaws again fouled quickly, stopping the clock with 2.5 seconds left.
On the ensuing inbounds play, Lyric came around a double screen from Deshawn Dix and Carl, caught the ball near the top of the 3-point arc, and unleashed the game-winner.
"Our guys went crazy when the shot went it," Akers said. "I am really proud of the way our guys played without feeling defeated with such little time left.
"Sisters did a great job of controlling the pace of the game and forcing us into hurried and tough shots all night. We were just able to stay close enough and have the ball bounce our direction a few times to come out with the win."
Sisters struggled at the free-throw line, going 3 for 8 from the stripe in the fourth quarter, and 5 for 12 for the game. Several of the misses in crunch time proved critical in Gladstone's comeback.
"I don't think we're going to have many pace issues when it comes to playing Seaside," Akers said. "They are really, really good, and their senior point guard, Jackson Januik is a stud. We're definitely going to have our hands full with him.
"Seaside starts four guards and a big, and all four guards are very skilled, very athletic, and very quick. I think we have a size advantage, but at the same time, having quickness and being able to shoot it can definitely outweigh a size advantage."