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Rangers survive late comeback to clinch an upset victory on season-ending Senior Night.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Estacada senior guard Jake Sittner helped lead his team to a 62-61 OT upset of Corbett on Senior Night Monday, Feb. 21. Third time was the charm for Estacada boys basketball as the Rangers were able to eke out an overtime upset Monday, Feb. 21, against Corbett in a game that saw both sides overcome adversity late.

Star players and leading scorers had fouled out of the game — Estacada junior forward Dominic Nacoste midway through the fourth with a game-high 22 points, and Corbett senior guard Joe Fundak with a then team-high 19 points. And both sides blew a chance to close out the game at the free throw line.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Rangers forward Dominic Nacoste was a force in the paint, scoring a game-high 22 points despite fouling out in the fourth quarter. So ,headed into the extra four minutes of play, tied 55-55, the Rangers had to look elsewhere for points. It was towering junior center Cody White who played the hero, hauling in two offensive rebounds for easy put-back buckets to spur a 5-0 run for the home team.

"We had multiple games with high intensity and emotions, so we know how to stay focused," said Estacada senior guard Jake Sittner.

But, as they did all night, the Cardinals fought back after senior Mykah Cummings hit a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to cut it to a single basket with just over a minute to play.

After trading turnovers, Estacada was able to work the ball into the hands of senior forward Cameron Johnson, who knocked down his only bucket of the contest with a midrange jumper to seal a 62-61 victory after a last-second heave from Corbett. That shot for Johnson came on a Senior Night filled with fireworks and a raucous crowd.

"Three of our last four games have now gone to overtime, and we lost the previous ones," said junior point guard Cory James of close losses to Madras and North Marion. "This time we had to come back and finish because it was Senior Night."

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Corbett senior guard Joe Fundak started slow, but scored 19 points in a nail-biter loss to Estacada Monday night, Feb. 21. For Estacada (4-6 league, 7-16 overall) James scored 17 points, Sittner had 9 points and junior Benjamin Haefs and White added 6 points apiece. For Corbett (6-4 league, 14-5 overall) junior Cole Weien had 19 points and senior point guard Lane Fort scored 13 points in the final game of the regular season for both sides.

"I am happy to go out on a win in my last game with the Rangers," Sittner said. "This team is full of competitors — I've been able to play each night with my friends."

Estacada started all three seniors on the varsity roster — Sittner, Johnson and Colin Spitzer — and they sparked an energetic start for the home team.

"We don't have a lot of seniors on this roster, but they all mean a lot," James said. "They motivate us to be the best players we can be."

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Estacada junior guard Cory James said winning for the seniors was special. The Rangers roared out of the gate with a 16-8 lead, thanks in large part to James, who notched 11 points, including a trio of makes from deep. Sittner also knocked down an early triple for the first basket of the night.

"Seeing those shots go down is satisfying," Sittner said with a smile.

On the other side it was a rare sluggish start for Corbett, which couldn't make open looks. Fundak was held scoreless in the first quarter, with his first made shot coming in the waning seconds of the first half after a twisting layup.

The Cardinals also struggled to contain Nacoste, who was a force in the paint, pulling down rebounds and drawing fouls. He scored two quick baskets down low in the second after bullying his way into position.

The game was on the precipice of devolving into an ugly blowout until Estacada began struggling at the free throw line. In the second quarter they missed seven free throws, including a rough 1-6 at the line from Nacoste in the quarter.

After halftime Corbett finally started to find its groove, ratcheting up its patented pressure defense that left Estacada scrambling to get across halfcourt. At times every pass for the Rangers felt like it was thrown with a hope and prayer over the searching arms of the Corbett defense. The Cardinals ended the third on an 11-4 run, closing the deficit to just 5 points.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Corbett senior point guard Lane Fort scored 13 points. Both teams continued to trade buckets in the fourth, with Nacoste and Fundak playing big roles on offense for their respective sides. But as the clock ticked down, and those players fouled out, others failed to clinch the victory. Estacada continued to struggle from the charity stripe, twice missing the front end of a one-and-one with less than 30 seconds on the clock and a tenuous lead.

With 10 seconds left in the game Corbett's Weien knotted things up for the first time since the opening tip with a smooth jumper from the corner.

Then, on the ensuing possessions, both teams appeared to make game-losing fouls. First the Cardinals had a bad reach-in that sent James to the line with 2.8 seconds. But he split his shots and then fouled Corbett's Fort on a final desperation, buzzer-beating heave. Fort also split his attempts, tying the game and sending it to overtime.

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