COOS BAY — Salem Academy’s boys won the fourth-place trophy at the Class 3A state tournament in unlikely fashion Saturday, beating Amity 62-61 in a wild finish that saw a five-point possession among three fouls in the final 15 seconds.
Amity led 60-56 after a pair of free throws by Dylan Stearns with 22 seconds to go when fortune turned to the Crusaders.
Koby McCallum hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key while officials ruled teammate Kyle Haslebacher was being pushed by an Amity defender. They awarded the bucket and Haslebacher made both free throws for a 61-60 lead.
On the other end, Amity’s Clint Hatch was fouled away from the ball with 9 seconds to go and made the second free throw to tie the game.
In the final twist, Salem Academy’s Markell Moser was fouled after releasing a 3-pointer from the corner with 1 second to go. He hit the first foul shot to give the Crusaders the win.
Amity had several leads of five or six points, but Salem Academy kept battling.
“We just kept our head and do what we usually do,” said Salem Academy’s Skyler Williams.
“It’s a great game to go out with. It’s the last game for nine of us.”
Williams accurately described the last moments of the game as “hectic.”
Amity coach Scott Nelson talked of a “crazy sequence down the stretch.”
He said the Crusaders made plays late.
“You have to give Salem Academy credit,” Nelson said. “They have a good team.”
Salem Academy coach Ryan Kendall, meanwhile, said he felt bad for Amity.
“It came down to a really tough call,” he said of the five-point possession, where the foul appeared to be before McCallum’s 3-pointer. “I feel for Amity — such a great team, to battle that hard (and lose).”
But, as he pointed out, the entire tournament is filled with great teams, including Horizon Christian and Blanchet Catholic, which lost both their games.
“There are eight really good teams here.”
A number of players from both teams had great games Saturday.
Haslebacher led the Crusaders with 16 points, Williams had 12 points and eight rebounds, McCallum scored 12 and Rylan Stamback had 11 points. Moser struggled all night, but he did hit the winning free throw and grabbed eight rebounds.
Stearns had 23 points for the Warriors, including three first-half 3-pointers, while Hatch scored nine and Jaycen Nelson eight.
“Our team competed hard,” Scott Nelson said. “I’m real proud of the team and everything they did.”
Nelson added that he was proud of the community for its support all week.
Amity entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed, lost a tough game to De La Salle North Catholic in the quarterfinals and finally won a game in the consolation semifinals after being shut out of the win column the past three state tourneys.
“That was awesome,” Nelson said of winning a trophy, adding that his group of eight seniors is “awesome.”
That includes three seniors who never got into a game during the tournament — Dillon Barber, Tyler Berrier and Daniel Mather — but were invaluable team players in practice.
Kendall spoke fondly of his own nine seniors, and the team’s effort after losing in the quarterfinals.
“That’s the resiliency of my seniors,” he said.
All eight players who were in the game for Salem Academy on Saturday are seniors, and Kendall also mentioned Sam Kenyon, who didn’t get into the game, “but was in every huddle.”
“It was a win for him, too,” Kendall said.