With a stacked lineup at Rocky Mountain, Tyler O’Donnell doesn’t receive the recognition he would at other high school boys basketball programs around the Treasure Valley.
But the junior forward stepped up Friday night, hitting a pair of free throws with 0.4 seconds left to lift the Grizzlies to a 61-59 overtime victory at Mountain View.
“Tyler, I tell you, he’s kind of an under-the-radar stud,” Rocky Mountain coach Dane Roy said. “He’s a really good talent, a really good player. Next year, he’s going to be one of the best in the state.”
Mountain View (10-5, 8-3 5A SIC) gave No. 2-ranked Rocky Mountain (15-1, 11-0 5A SIC) all it could handle Friday, sending the game into overtime on Drew Smart’s 3-pointer from the right corner. Just as the Grizzlies looked to pull away in overtime, Jalen Galloway drained another deep 3 with 10 seconds left to tie the game back up at 59-59.
A frantic scramble after Galloway’s 3-pointer ended with Rocky Mountain taking possession under the Mavericks’ basket with 2.1 seconds left. Mountain View took away the Grizzlies’ preferred option on the inbound pass — a lob pass to 6-10 BYU signee Kolby Lee — so O’Donnell slipped to the backdoor.
He fumbled the pass at first, but he regained control and drew a foul with 0.4 seconds left on the clock.
The junior never displayed any nerves and swished both free throws to extend Rocky Mountain’s winning streak to 14 games, a program record.
“My teammates put me in a good situation to make a play, and I just knocked them down,” O’Donnell said.
The win caps the toughest stretch of Rocky Mountain’s schedule so far with consecutive road games at Capital, Boise and Mountain View. All three entered Friday inside the top four in the 5A SIC standings.
The Grizzlies had rolled through the regular season with their only loss coming to Utah’s Timpview on Dec. 1. Eleven of their 14 straight wins have come via double digits. But Roy said all of Rocky Mountain’s district and possible state tournament games will come on the road, so tough games like Friday’s and Tuesday’s three-point win at Boise will become the norm, not the exception.
“It’s good to win those close ones and get a feel for it, because that’s what’s going to happen at district and state,” Roy said. “Hopefully, we’re battle tested by then.”
Lee led the Grizzlies with 15 points, eight rebounds and five blocks. Hunter Ranstrom added 14 points, and O’Donnell scored 13 off the bench.
Galloway paced Mountain View with 24 points, and Tyler Brotherson racked up 20 points as the 5A SIC’s second-leading scorer, Cam Howard, sat out Friday’s game. Mountain View coach Jon Nettleton declined to give a reason why.
“We might have come up a couple points short, but in the long run, I think this sets the tone and the stage for the rest of the season,” Nettleton said. “We’ve got five regular-season games left. We got a chance to be a two through a four seed (for the district tournament), if we take care of business.”