COLUMBIA -- Alex Fletcher is a 3-point marksman, but as the clock ticked down to two seconds, the Golden Valley guard, his team trailing 60-59 to Sierra, was looking to get in position for a game-winning two-footer.
Fletcher drove hard into the lane, and picked up his dribble just in time to make contact with a Sierra player. Both players crashed to the floor as the ball bounced away, and no whistle interrupted the final buzzer.
The contact was hard.
Whether it was an offensive charge or a defensive block was something for the officials to call. Or in this case, not call.
"I was disappointed we didn't get that last call, but I thought the referees did a great job," said Golden Valley coach Keith Hunter. "You have to get a shot off in that situation and the bottom line is that we didn't."
And in that failure to convert in the final seconds, the Cougars became one of the statistical quirks of the young season. Golden Valley is 11-2, broken down into 11-0 against the world and 0-2 against Sierra.
"We know they're good and we also know what we came here to do," said Sierra guard Christian Williams, whose 23 points was capped by two free throws with 6.9 seconds left to give Sierra the win. "They gave us a good match at our house and we were fortunate to get out with that one, so we knew they were going to come right after us."
Golden Valley was looking for instant redemption against Sierra, but the Timberwolves (7-4) will be looking for their own payback this morning.
For the second consecutive year, Sierra and Downey were the only two teams to emerge unbeaten from the first two days of round-robin play at the Columbia Holiday Tournament.
The Timberwolves, who have won seven of eight, will meet the Knights this morning at 10:30 to decide the title.
Sierra got out to a quick lead against GV, using five first-half 3-pointers by Trevor Nogueira to take a 38-30 halftime lead.
"I was a little disappointed that when we got up eight we couldn't have that killer instinct and extend the lead," said Sierra coach Scott Thomason.
Golden Valley's first lead came at 59-57 when Steven Andrada scored on a fast-break pass from Fletcher with 1:04 left, but Williams made one of two free throws with 41 seconds remaining.
Sierra needed a defensive stop, and got it when Donte Scott's floater with 11 seconds left fell off the right side. Williams corralled the ball, drove it up court and was fouled on a leaner.
John Sykes, showing no ill effect from the food poisoning that sidelined him Saturday, led Golden Valley with 18 points.
DOWNEY 51, SUMMERVILLE 32 -- Chris Kline had his way inside, scoring eight points in each half as the defending tournament champion Knights cruised to an easy victory over the Bears.
Downey led 20-18 in a slow first half, but pulled away with stingy defense. Kline had six points in the third quarter, when the Knights outscored Summerville 13-4.
Pedro Guzman helped keep the Bears at bay by scoring eight of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.
SONORA 58, MODESTO 37 -- The Wildcats (8-4) relentlessly attacked the baseline during a 17-4 run over the final five minutes of the first half to take a 31-14 lead, then cruised to the easy win over the young Panthers (1-15).
Brenden Evans had 19 points to lead Sonora, while Jordan Banks has seven for the Panthers, who have only two seniors on the roster.
Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2300.