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The Mustangs rally in the final seconds, get a Carter Sprague buzzer-beater to win.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Milwaukie players mob junior Carter Sprague (laying on the court) after Sprague's buzzer-beating putback beat Pendleton 78-77 at Milwaukie High School on Wednesday, Dec. 8.If all of the Milwaukie boys basketball team's games are like this one, the Mustangs might need to start handing out blood pressure medication at the front door.

Milwaukie, hosting Pendleton in its season opener at Milwaukie High School on Wednesday, Dec. 8, led by 12 points midway through the third quarter, saw the Buckaroos take the lead with 11 seconds remaining, then won 78-77 when junior Carter Sprague rebounded a miss and scored on a putback in the game's final second.

"It was awesome. It was great," said Sprague, who scored his team's final two baskets on putbacks in the final 28 seconds. He finished with 14 points on 6 of 11 shooting from the floor (including two 3-pointers) and eight rebounds "This is my first varsity game. I haven't played in a year. It's a great first game for me. I'm very excited."

"I tried to get the foul and luckily — we'll call it a lob — we got the lob to Carter for the putback," said junior guard Logan Law, who missed a one-handed shot from the right corner under pressure as time ran out. He finished with 16 points on 7 of 14 shooting from the field (including two "threes"), along with eight assists, six rebounds and four steals. "It was pretty cool."

The win gave the ninth-ranked Mustangs a 1-0 overall record, while the Bucks lost for the fourth straight time and fell to 0-4 in 2021.

"They definitely got close. It got scary toward the end," added junior guard Kaden Harris, who led his team with 23 points on 8 of 15 shooting from the field (including seven 3-pointers), along with four assists, two rebounds and one steal. "We were stressing to try and go 1-0 to come out and next we'll try to go 2-0, but Carter saved us this game."

Milwaukie 78, Pendleton 77

That said, Pendleton — led by senior guard Greyson Sams' 27 points on 8 of 15 shooting from the field (including five "threes") and a 6 of 6 day at the foul line, along with seven assists, six steals and four rebounds — showed its ability to come back over and over in this game.

In the first quarter, the Mustangs grabbed a 13-4 lead when Sprague took a pass from junior Riley Dickerman and buried a 3-pointer with 4 minutes, 49 seconds remaining in the period.

But Pendleton closed the frame on a 17-7 run to lead 21-20 at the end of the stanza, getting two "threes" from senior Jayden Minthorn, five points by Sams and three points each from Jennings and senior Andy Oja, with Oja's 3-pointer coming with two seconds left.

After a back-and-forth second quarter that saw Law score eight points and Sams 10, the Mustangs took a 38-35 edge into the second half. From there, however, Milwaukie used an 18-9 scoring edge to push its advantage to 56-44.

Harris was as hot as could be at the start of the half, making five straight 3-pointers in a span of just three minutes, a stretch capped when Harris took a Law pass and knocked down a "three" from the top of the key with 5:08 left in the period.

Undaunted, the Bucks — getting 13 points in the quarter from junior Gauge Rueber — cut their deficit in half before settling for a 68-62 shortfall entering the fourth period.

Pendleton just kept coming in the fourth quarter, too, getting five points from Sams (including a 3-pointer) and "threes" from both Devereaux and Rueber, eventually grabbing a 77-76 lead when Sams buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 11 seconds left.

Law took the ensuing inbounds pass, drove the length of the court, got forced into the right corner and launched a long, one-handed shot that — after going over the rim — Carter caught in the air and turned into the game winner.

"From my angle, it looked like (Law) was going to make it and I saw it go barely over and I jumped up and put it back," Sprague said.

The rest of the Mustangs said they would learn from the night's challenges and push forward.

"They were hitting tonight. They were hitting everything," Harris said. "We should have played better defense. … We know we need to come out and play better defense … and if we do, we'll make a long run."

Milwaukie senior Sean LaChappelle added 14 points on 4 of 8 shooting from the field and a 6 of 6 day at the line, along with 12 rebounds.

Rueber finished with 16 points on 5 of 12 shooting from the field (with four "threes"), along with three assists and two rebounds. Devereaux added 14 points on 5 of 8 shooting from the field and a 1 of 2 day at the line, along with two rebounds and a block.

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