Deonard Wilson brokered a deal with his Grant High School boys basketball team this season, a scenario in which everyone cashes in.
The Pacers' coach stipulated that should his gritty and athletic bunch earn a Sac-Joaquin Section trip to Sleep Train Arena, thus signifying the cusp of a championship, he'd reward them with good eats. As in a visit to IHOP International House of Pancakes.
Pass the bibs. The Pacers are ready to feed.
On the strength of De'Sean Parsons' remarkable all-around game, including scoring the only points in overtime, Grant outlasted Cosumnes Oaks 63-59 Friday in Del Paso Heights in a second-round Division II playoff game that was as entertaining as it was exhausting.
In the end, the senior starting lineup of Parsons, Malek Wren (12 points), Malek Mitschem (11), Brandon Nunn (10 rebounds) and Kameron Bradley (five points, seven rebounds) squeezed out the program's first 2-0 playoff start since the 1999 team, the last Pacers squad to win a conference championship.
As steady as his teammates are, the versatile, 6-foot-6 Parsons is the leader in terms of effort and production. He scored a game-high 25 points, had 14 rebounds, blocked six shots, handled the ball, hustled on defense and gave it every last ounce of effort, including diving head long onto the floor for a loose ball.
"I have to play like this because I'm a leader," Parsons said. "We know we have to play hard."
Grant now draws top-seeded Sacramento, the winner of five section D-III titles since 2005 and seeking its first in D-II.
Mitschem hit the second of two free throws with a second to play in regulation to force overtime. So frenetic was the tempo for both sides just to get to that point, the teams were on fumes in the extra period.
Parsons scored on a drive with 38.1 seconds left to play for the first extra-session points, then blocked a shot, hustled after the loose ball, was fouled and hit a free throw for a 62-59 lead. He came up with another block on the Wolfpack's final effort, got the rebound, was fouled and hit the final free throw.
"He has a great motor," Wilson said. "Since his freshman year, he told us that we'd go to Arco Arena. Now we're here. It's been a long time since Grant has been this far. We're bringing it back."
If Parsons is the clear star, then Wren, a quick, steady guard, is the facilitator and calming influence, Wilson said.
"Wren runs this team," Wilson said. "He sets the pace. He gets on everyone. Even if De'Sean acts like a diva, it's Wren who asks him, 'Is it me or we?' and DeSean will say, 'OK, Dog. We know it's we.' "
Alex Van Dyke led Cosumnes Oaks with 14 points and 12 rebounds.