ARCADIA – For the second year in a row, the West County Bulldogs knocked off the host team Tigers in a semi-final game of the Arcadia Valley Thanksgiving Tournament.
With three seconds left in the game on an inbound pass from the right sideline, Bulldog stand-out Parker Forshee took the pass at the top of the key and raced up the left side to make a driving lay-up, beating the buzzer to send West County fans and players into frenzied celebration.
Forshee’s lay-up gave the Bulldogs a 61-60 win and a berth in Thursday’s championship game against the No. 1 seed Ellington. It also gave Forshee 30 points in the game and redemption from a missed free throw that would have at least clinched a tie.
Trailing by three with 14 seconds left and the Tigers ball, the Bulldogs used their last time-out. Forshee made a steal of the inbounds pass at the top of the key and drove in to score, and was fouled on the shot. In the ensuing scramble for the rebound of the missed free throw, the ball was ruled last touched by a Tiger as it went out of bounds, setting up the final play.
The Bulldogs took early control of the game as they jumped out to a 15-2 lead in the first quarter with the Tigers making only one of their first 10 shots. Sam Williams drilled a three for the host team’s second basket, and Austin Wren followed with a second as the Tigers closed the gap to five at 17-12, before a final basket by the Bulldogs closed out the quarter.
Hayden Helvey scored twice to start the second period to draw the Tigers to within one score, but Forshee answered from the circle for the Bulldogs. The Tigers took their first lead, 25-24, on a 10 footer by Helvey with three minutes left before the half. The two teams traded baskets for the final three minutes, exchanging he one-point lead each time.
Neither team was able to score tin the final minute as the Tigers went cold again from the floor and the line, while the Bulldogs turned the ball over on three trips. Arcadia Valley held a 29-28 lead at half-time.
West County regained the lead in the third quarter at 37-36 after Forshee took the ball coast-to-coast twice after making defensive rebounds. A three by Wren, and a driving lay-up by Christian Neville put the Tigers in front again, but the well went dry in the last minutes of the third and West County pushed ahead for a 43-39 advantage to end the third quarter.
Jake Pryor opened the final period with a three from the top of the key, but Forshee would strike for his third trey to put the Bulldogs up 48-42 with 5:30 left to play. Pryor made the gap only one, 50-49, after three free throws, and Helvey put the Tigers ahead with a jumper at the line. Pryor finished the game with 21 points for the Tigers and Helvey had 17.
A dish inside to Williams by Pryor gave the Tigers a four-point lead with 1:20 left in the game, but West County’s Blake Barlow scored his only basket in the game with a three from the right corner which made it a one-point game again.
Helvey made good on two free throws to make the score 60-57, before Forshee’s final baskets.