Rico Bolivar went on a scoring spree to get Mountain View into overtime Tuesday night at Columbia River High School.
Luke DuChesne connected on the biggest shot of his varsity career in that extra session.
And in those final 4 minutes and 30 seconds or so, everything changed in the Class 3A Greater St. Helens League boys basketball race.
Columbia River was 30 seconds away from clinching the league title, up by six. Instead Boliver scored nine points in a 21-second span to force OT, then DuChesnse buried a 3-pointer with 8 seconds remaining for a 54-53 victory for the Thunder.
The teams, which split their two matchups, are tied in the loss column. If Mountain View (8-1 GSHL) and Columbia River (9-1) finish the season tied, the two teams will face off for a third time to determine the No. 1 seed to the district tournament.
All that was possible because of some clutch shooting.
“It’s like nothing I ever imagined,” DuChesne said. “It’s the best feeling in the world.”
Mack Stromme had given the Chieftains a 53-51 lead with 1:47 left in overtime. After both teams missed opportunities to add to their totals, Columbia River missed two free throws with 13 seconds left, allowing the Thunder to push the ball up the floor.
Bolivar found DuChesne, who swished the 3-pointer for the lead with eight seconds on the clock.
“You feel like you have the whole team on your back,” DuChesne said. “Then you hit it, and it’s such an adrenaline rush.”
River called timeout with four seconds left, got a shot off from the corner, but the ball was off the mark.
That set off a celebration from the Mountain View side of the gym, a celebration that would not have been possible without Bolivar’s Reggie Miller impersonation at the end of regulation.
River led 46-40 when Bolivar swished a 3-pointer with 27 seconds remaining, a start of something magical for the Thunder.
“I was just thinking we’ve got to hit some shots. We needed 3’s,” Bolivar said. “Coach always tells me to shoot when I’m open. It just so happened I made them.”
The Chieftains made one of two from the line to make it 47-43, but Bolivar was fouled while taking a 3-pointer. He made all three free throws to cut the deficit to one with 19 seconds left.
“I just tried to stay calm and tune out the crowd,” Bolivar said. “I take pride in my free throws.”
River’s Isaiah Smith connected on two free throws on the other end for a three-point lead with 16 seconds left.
No problem for Bolivar, who did a little double-pump leaner from 3-point range to tie the game with six seconds on the clock.
“I just knew it couldn’t get blocked,” he said.
Zach Torson led Mountain View with 21 points. He made four 3-pointers, keeping the game tight enough for his teammates to score the comeback.
Bolivar finished with 15 points, and Ryan Johnson added nine points and 15 rebounds for the Thunder.
Smith led Columbia River with 19 points and nine rebounds. Devin Bolds and Stromme each had eight points.
The Chieftains used an 11-0 run in the second quarter to go from five down to six up and never trailed again until DuChesne’s 3-pointer in OT.
“We knew we had to defend and rebound in order to stay in this game,” Mountain View coach Nate DuChesne said. “I thought we did that.”
Just after the game, he said the outcome, with his son sinking the game-winner, had not sunk in just yet. But he enjoyed the moment.
“He’s not one of our go-to scorers, but our guys trust him,” DuChesne said of DuChesne. “The guys made the extra pass, and he knocked it down. He made the shot, but that was a team play.”
That team play put the Mountain View team back in position to fight for a league title.
MOUNTAIN VIEW 54, COLUMBIA RIVER 53 (OT)
MOUNTAIN VIEW — Zach Torson 21, Taylor Drey 0, Ryan Johnson 9, Grayson Anderson 0, Luke DuChesne 7, Rico Bolivar 15, Sean McCauley 2, Shane McCauley 0. Totals 19 (7) 9-21 54.
COLUMBIA RIVER — Devin Bolds 8, Bryan Wyche 0, Rian Bassett 11, Jon Hanberg 0, Chad Love 7, Mack Stromme 8, Isaiah Smith 18. Totals 17 (4) 15-23 53.
Mtn. View 10 10 14 15 5–54
C. River 9 14 11 15 4–53
JV — Columbia River 57-34. C — Columbia River 48-36.