Sean Amos had two chances to win a game Wednesday night and the Foothill High School forward needed both opportunities before the Knights could claim a 60-59 overtime victory over Canyon in a Century League game in Anaheim.
Amos was fortunate to be at the free-throw line with two seconds remaining in overtime. He was fouled while trying to take an off-balance 16-foot shot and was awarded two free throws.
Amos wasn’t close on his first attempt, took a deep breath and then calmly made his second shot to give Foothill (7-9, 1-1) a victory that moved the Knights back into the hunt for the league title.
Canyon (10-6, 1-1) looked like a winner in regulation play. Guard Eric Oliver made two free throws with 11 seconds remaining to give the Comanches a 53-50 lead. But Foothill reserve Mike Busalacchi made a three-point shot six seconds later that sent the game into overtime.
It was the second straight overtime game for Foothill. The Knights opened league play with a 65-59 loss to El Modena last Friday.
“It was nice to win one for a change,” said Jim Reames, Foothill coach. “It’s difficult to win here. Mike hit that late three-pointer that got us into overtime and then I figured the team with the ball at the end of overtime would most likely win.”
Canyon’s inability to hit the front end of one-and-one free throw opportunities down the stretch was costly. Tom Bottiaux and Kevin Wilborn both missed chances to extend Canyon’s lead in the fourth quarter by missing free throws.
Amos, who came into the game averaging 22 points per game, led all scorers with 23 points, including three key free throws in the overtime period.
“I had a 50-50 chance to win the game, so I was pretty confident I could make at least one free throw,” Amos said.
The pivotal player in Foothill’s victory was reserve Naveen Athuluru, who limited Wilborn, Canyon’s top scorer, to 16 points. Wilborn made only 6 of 23 shots but did get 12 rebounds.