Another Wyoming East-Westside game, another drama-filled finish.
Christian Hedinger stole the ball with seconds remaining and drove in for a lay up as time ran out to give the Warriors a 55-53 win over their rivals and send the East cheering section streaming on to the floor to celebrate.
“It’s one of the most exciting (moments in sports) I’ve had,” said Hedinger.
East, which trailed most of the night, tied it on Austin Canada’s long three-pointer from the left side with 25 seconds to go.
Westside called a timeout with 9.8 ticks left. The ball was thrown in to Bowles near the sideline. He dribbled toward the middle.
“John Morgan turned him toward me,” Hedinger commented. “I was on Corey, and the ball came out. I got it and took it to the basket.”
It was the third meeting between the teams this season. All three were decided in the final minute.
The game was tight from start to finish, and the Renegades (10-3) held their biggest lead—seven points—twice in the third quarter.
It was 34-27 when East finished the period with a 10-3 run.
Taron Ayers, who came off the bench to score 23, hit a three from the right wing.
Jordan Hayes connected on a put back and Ayers tied it with a jumper. It was 34-34.
Bowles knocked down a trey from straight away with 21.5 seconds showing to put Westside in front.
Ayers tied on a three with less than second left.
“People asked why I didn’t play him more at the armory (at the Big Atlantic Classic), but I didn’t think he was ready and Taron knew he wasn’t ready,” said East coach Rory Chapman.
He was ready on Friday, carrying the East offense for stretches of the game.
“That was the worst offensive game we’ve had in a long time,” Chapman stated. “But the defense played hard. And we stopped turning the ball over in the second half, and I think that’s a big reason why we won this game.”
The teams were tied at 39 and 41. Justin Kenneda’s three from the corner put WHS in front, 44-43.
Westside led by four, 49-45, on a Bowles three with 2:43 to play.
Hayes hit two foul shots and Hedinger connected on a trey to give East a 50-49 edge.
A Will Fox drive and Bowles lay up put the Renegades up, 53-50, with less than a minute remaining.
Canada’s trey set up the finish.
“We didn’t run our sets, we don’t listen to the coaches,” said Westside coach Nick Cook. ” Our defense was good at times. We need to work to get better.
“We had some turnovers, but we had help on some of them,” he remarked. “And they only had one foul (until late in the second half).”
Fox and Bowles scored 12 each for the Renegades.
Ayers had a game-high 23. Hedinger scored 13, and Canada had eight, all in the second half.
“It was humbling for me to play in front on a crowd like this,” said Ayers.
He said he accepts his role on the team. “If the coach wants me to come of the bench, I’ll come off the bench,” he stated. “If he wants me to start, I’ll start.”
East hosts Mount View tonight. WHS is at Logan.
Photo: Taron Ayers of Wyoming East is guarded by Westside’s Will Fox in Friday’s game at New Richmond.