CHERRYVALE — Logan Page buried a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the left wing to give the Humboldt Cubs a 64-62 win over the Cherryvale Chargers and a share of the Tri-Valley League title on Tuesday night.
“It’d been a while since we’ve been in the hunt,” Humboldt head coach David Taylor said. “It’s been a long time. I’m just glad we played well enough to win and carry this momentum. That’s the most excited I’ve seen them.”
Page hit the game-winner after Cherryvale took a 62-61 lead with 3.5 seconds remaining. Page caught the inbounds pass near half court, dribbled to the left wing and hoisted up a contested triple that found the bottom of the net.
“I knew I had to get down the court as fast as I could and get a shot up,” Page said. “I’m happy it went in. We battled all game and fought very hard. That last shot was just icing on the cake.”
Both squads entered Tuesday’s tilt knowing a win would earn a share of the league crown. Page’s trey denied the Chargers their first league title since 2000.
“I thought we battled,” Cherryvale head coach Rodney Vigil said. “We didn’t get our best plays from our best players sometimes. Some guys were trying to force things. It didn’t come down to the last 3.5 seconds.”
Sam Hull led Humboldt with 16 points while Colden Cook, who fouled out, added 14.
Trey Sommer also fouled out for Humboldt, stretching the Cubs’ depth to its limit.
“I’m just happy they did what they did. We had a lot of question marks,” Taylor said. “Some of those kids don’t play significant minutes. I was pleased with them. They calmed down. When we’re amped up, that’s when we throw the ball away.”
Page scored 9 points, all in the fourth quarter.
“They were good shots and he was getting to his spot,” Taylor said. “I’m happy for him.”
Cherryvale led through much of the game, but the Cubs shifted momentum in the fourth quarter.
“We stopped hurrying on offense and we got more comfortable in the halfcourt,” Taylor said. “We stopped dribbling without a plan. We’d go two or three trips in a row where we’d have zero clue what we were doing. But then we got settled in and found a little rhythm against their zone.”
Cherryvale trailed by five in the game’s final minute before eventually taking a lead in the final seconds.
“We had our opportunity and I'm proud of the kids for giving that opportunity to themselves,” Vigil said. “I’m proud of how we fought back late. Maybe if I had another timeout, I could’ve done something different to slow the pace of the game. But kudos to Humboldt. They hit free throws when they needed to and battled through their own foul trouble.”
Vigil’s strategy for dealing with an emotionally draining loss is to plow ahead to the postseason.
“We’re dealing with kids and that’s part of the perspective,” Vigil said. “They knew it all. We just won’t talk about it. Maybe by doing that, we’ll alleviate some of the pressure. We know it’s on us.”
Cherryvale will be the No. 3 seed in its Class 3A sub-state tournament after finishing the regular season 14-6. The Chargers will face Frontenac in the first round.
“This late in the year, your practices are all scout and getting shots up,” Vigil said. “That’s how we’ll attack it. I probably won’t talk about this game again. It’s not needed. I’ll find a way to make peace with it.”
As for Humboldt, it finished the regular season with a 17-3 record and is the top seed in its sub-state. The Cubs will face Neodesha in the first round.
“I think this win helps them stay focused this week,” Taylor said. “We can keep doing some teaching. We’re still young. So we’ll see what happens.”
Cherryvale: 19 12 11 20 — 62
Humboldt: 16 10 15 23 — 62
Cherryvale: Stetson Hempel-Schafer 19, Trevin Elam 13, Brock Robertson 21, Briggs Knight 5, Danny Vigil 4
Humboldt: Sam Hull 16, Colden Cook 14, Trey Sommer 14, Jacob Harrington 6, Logan Page 9, Asher Hart 5
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