With one shot, sophomore Ethan Underwood created a lifetime memory on the biggest stage for a high school basketball player.
Underwood's desperation 30- footer, released just as the buzzer sounded, lifted Horizon Christian of San Diego to an improbable 47-46 win over St. Joseph's Notre Dame of Alameda in the CIF State Division V boys championship game Friday at Sleep Train Arena.
It looked like a game that St. Joseph's had in the bag moments before.
The Pilots led 46-39 with 14.7 seconds to play. But Underwood hit a three-pointer and Darren Carrington scored on a driving layup nine seconds later, sandwiched between four missed free throws by St. Joseph's, the latter two coming with 3.6 seconds to play.
The 6-foot-3 Carrington, an Oregon football recruit, rebounded and, with no timeouts remaining, decided to ignore the play his coach had drawn up earlier.
He passed to Ethan Underwood instead of Ethan's older brother Cody, who was supposed to take the shot. Ethan took two quick dribbles and let fly from well above the top of the key as St. Joseph's 6-6 Temidayo Yussuf charged at him.
"I couldn't see because the guy closing in on me was really tall," Ethan Underwood said. "But once I heard my teammates scream, that's when I knew it was in."
High school players often shoot poorly in the expansive atmosphere of the Kings' arena, but the 6-foot, baby-faced Underwood thrived. He had 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3 of 4 three-pointers.
"We had the ball in the right hands," said Horizon coach Tyrone Hopkins. "He's never been afraid to take the big shot."
But it was the fast and aggressive Carrington who helped keep Horizon (21-11) in the game.
He had team highs of 17 points and 14 rebounds. Yussuf finished with a game-high 20 points and a D-V boys record 19 rebounds for the Pilots (25-12).
Underwood's shot left St. Joseph's large contingent of rooters stunned, the players inconsolable and veteran coach Don Lippi philosophical.
"(My players have) done everything I asked them to do, and then a 30-foot throw wins the game," said Lippi, who has 726 wins. "But that's why they call it March Madness."
Division III boys
St. Augustine-San Diego 59, Sacred Heart Cathedral-San Francisco 52 OT Junior Trey Kell scored 30 points, including three free throws to tie at 47-47 with 2.9 seconds in regulation and six more in overtime as the Saints (29-4) topped the Fightin' Irish (21-12).
Division I girls
Long Beach Poly 46, Berkeley 28 Jada Matthews had 14 points and eight rebounds and Arica Carter added 11 points to lead the Jackrabbits (30-5) to their fifth state title. Rachel Howard's 11 points and five rebounds led the Yellowjackets (22-12).
Division III girls
Bishop Alemany-Mission Hills 46, Sacred Heart Cathedral-San Francisco 40 Leslie Lopez-Wood had 16 points and Hanna Johnson 12 points and 11 rebounds as the Warriors (32-5) held off the Fightin' Irish (25-7).
Division V girls
Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth 47, Pinewood-Los Altos Hills 33 Sophomore Kennedy Burke had 14 points, 16 rebounds and five blocked shots as the Trailblazers (23-9) topped the Panthers (23-9).
Call The Bee's Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.