Donnell Gresham was limping around on a sprained ankle. He wasn’t feeling any pain.
The junior guard scored eight points in the second overtime, leading Cretin-Derham Hall to an improbable 89-77 upset victory over Class 4A defending champion and top-ranked Apple Valley in the Section 3 championship before a raucous standing-room-only crowd at Farmington High School.
“I know some people might have doubted us, but I was confident we were going to win this game,” an ecstatic Gresham said. “This was a great win for us.”
The loss brought a dejected end to the brilliant career of Apple Valley senior guard Tyus Jones. The Duke recruit finished with 35 points, eight assists, six steals and three rebounds for the Eagles (27-2).
“I don’t think we’re going to see another player like Tyus for quite a while,” Cretin- Derham Hall coach Jerry Kline Jr. said. “He’s a special talent.”
Gresham made six consecutive free throws and a driving layup during a 15-1 run to close the second overtime. He finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds.
“The big stage brings out the best players,” Gresham said. “I think I matched up pretty well with one of the best guards in the nation tonight.”
After Jones scored on a driving layup to start the second overtime, Raiders senior guard Michael Hannon connected on his fifth three-pointer for a 77-76 lead. He had a team-high 26 points.
“One of our coaches told me at halftime to keep shooting,” Hannon said. He was 1-for-6 on three-pointers in the first half. “I made a couple shots and started getting confident in the second half. My teammates did an excellent job of getting me the ball.”
Senior forward Dennis Austin, who had 10 points and 15 rebounds for Apple Valley, left on a stretcher after committing a hard foul on Gresham’s layup with 58 seconds left.
He made two three-pointers in the final three minutes of regulation, helping Cretin-Derham Hall (23-6) erase a five-point deficit and pull even at 74-74 at the end of regulation. Neither team scored in the first overtime. The Raiders missed shots at the end of regulation and the first overtime to win it win.
“I have to give Cretin-Derham Hall a lot of credit,” Jones said. “They had a great game plan, and executed it well. You can’t win ’em all.”