Sabrina Jiles
ASU Student Journalist

Buzzer-beater gives Carl Hayden a wild win over Central, 74-73

February 8, 2022 by Sabrina Jiles, Arizona State University

Fourth quarter free throws during Carl Hayden vs. Central. (Sabrina Jiles photo/AZPreps365)

Sabrina Jiles is an ASU Cronkite School of Journalism student assigned to cover Carl Hayden High School for

With only 1.8 seconds left on the clock. The shot went up and in.

In a game filled with emotion and excitement, the Carl Hayden Falcons boys basketball team faced off in their final game of the regular season on Tuesday night against the Central Bobcats.

The Falcons played in front of a full crowd, with the hopes of keeping a possible playoff dream alive.

The game came down to the wire as the Bobcats led by only two points with 5 seconds left in the fourth quarter, but it was the Falcons who won the game with a score of 74-73.

With less than 2 seconds on the clock, a big time shot from freshman Tamar Johnson at the buzzer erupted the building and got the Falcons the big win.

Johnson described how a big moment felt for him and the team.

“To see it go in with region on the line, it was pretty cool,” Johnson said.

The Falcons played a completely different game in the second half in comparison to the first half. The team got off to a slow start and gave Bobcats point guard Sabih Almasri more than half of his 28 points in the first half. 

With a lack of energy on both offense and defense, the Falcons struggled. The team trailed the Bobcats 41-27 going into halftime.

For Falcons head coach Rodney Brown, he knew he had to give his team a message at halftime to get them back in it and have them keep battling.

“We got to wake up. We got to play our style of basketball. We came out sluggish and had silly turnovers not playing how we needed to play. Basically after that I told them ‘let's go out here and play our game and break the lead down,’” Brown said.

The Falcons did not go down without a fight. The team came out of halftime with a sense of urgency and a will to win. With the help of a few mistakes from the Bobcats, the Falcons came alive late in the third quarter and capitalized. 

Having the crowd behind them the entire game, the Falcons were able to trail by only a close 10 points going into the fourth quarter. 

The Falcons got big defensive plays and energy from sophomores Kendre Pride and Santino Esquivel during the second half that spread to the rest of the team.

Esquivel described that knowing his role on this team helped him come out and contribute to the win.

“We all have roles on this team and sometimes you need to know your role, sometimes you're not going to be the best shooter, the best passer. You may be the best whatever you can be and you just have to pick up that energy and run with it and that is what I had to do,” Esquivel said.

The Falcons however suffered from foul trouble, with Pride being one of the players to foul out in the last minutes of the game. Even though he was not on the court, Pride wanted to make his presence felt amongst his team and knew that being upset would hurt his team.

“When I came out of the game my emotions were taking over me, but I knew if my teammates see me with my head down, it makes it feel like we lost the game,” Pride said.

The Falcons were led in scoring with 20 points from junior Adrien Armstong and 16 points from Pride.

With this win, the team hopes that they will get a chance to compete in the playoffs and keep their season alive.