Sandy • In six tries in the final minute, no one had been successful.
It was a thought Pa'a Montalbo pushed out of his mind as he stood at the free-throw line, trying to make sure his shot would be the one that would go in.
"That's how you have to shoot free throws," he said. "You have to think about nothing. You can't let anything get to you."
The senior center sunk one, which helped East breathe a little easier in its 66-64 victory at Jordan on Monday night. A last-ditch heave by the Beetdiggers bounced off the rim, giving the Leopards the Jordan Holiday Tournament title.
It was down-to-the-wire gut-wrencher with three lead swaps in the last minute alone. Jordan worked the paint with senior center Brandon Pasker, whose sure-footedness in the post and deft touch at the free-throw line led him to a 35-point night.
But Parker Van Dyke, the senior Utah-signed guard, led a comeback attempt that culminated with a contested layup in the final 20 seconds. It would be enough to win, but even with a 2-point lead with 3.3 seconds left, the Leopards were crossing their fingers.
"We just kind of left it all out on the floor," Van Dyke said, wrapping up with 31 points to win the tournament MVP honors. "We had beaten too many good teams and come too far to come out and lose."
On its home court, Jordan played with a similar attitude. Defensively, the Beetdiggers flashed an array of different looks that slowed down Van Dyke and helped them build a small lead. The long-limbed Pasker backed his way into the paint all night, a near-sure finisher from five feet in.
But East countered with John Fakahafua and Mitch Grant, who helped the Leopards warm up before Van Dyke got comfortable on the floor. And once he was, he was relentless knocking back three 3-pointers, but also burying contested layups and fadeaway jumpers that no one else on the floor could.
Grant and Van Dyke both hit tough shots down the stretch, and closed a four-point gap in the last minute. Chandler Smith for Jordan also had a strong hand in the contest, hitting for 11 points and setting up several Beetdiggers baskets.
O Parker Van Dyke pours in 31 points, including the go-ahead basket.
• Brandon Pasker notches a game-high 35 points for Jordan.