OGDEN — In a span of about 6 seconds, Timpview guard Christian Covey went from trying to defend a possible game-winning shot to sinking a once-in-a-lifetime basket.
Covey drained a 3-pointer as time expired to give the Thunderbirds a 47-44 win over Highland in the 4A semifinals on Friday night. Timpview, thanks to Covey's clutch shot, advances to the 4A title game for the first time since 2003.
"It felt pretty good," Covey said.
Covey's shot came quickly after the T-Birds prevented Highland from making a game-winning shot of its own. With the game tied at 44-44, the Rams collected a rebound off of a Timpview miss with 1:24 left in the game and played for one shot.
During a possession that lasted about 78 seconds, the T-Birds changed defenses three times, going from zone to a trap to man and back to zone. Highland finally attacked Timpview's zone, and guard Sam Orchard missed a tough attempt in the paint.
T-Birds forward Eli Robison rebounded the miss with 6 seconds left and quickly kicked out to Ryan Sagers. Sagers, Covey's cousin, then passed it to Covey, who took a few dribbles, got past a hard-charging Highland defender and swished the walk-off 3-pointer.
"I'm just grateful for the opportunity," Covey said. "I've got to give credit to Eli for getting that rebound, and making a great outlet, then Ryan Sagers passing it to me. You can't just look at that shot. Everything leading up to it was also a part of it."
Covey is obviously being extremely humble about his game-winner. Timpview coach Perry Wildeboer was much more generous with his praise for the junior sharpshooter.
"It was a great shot," Wildeboer said. "Christian is a great ball handler, he's great off the dribble, and he's got a great shot. You can't have a better kid to have the ball in their hands coming down the court, making a decision like that."
The game stayed tied at 44-44 for quite a while. Highland tied it when Orchard converted a three-point play with 3:03 left in the game, and the T-Birds kept the ball for nearly 2 minutes. Josh Warner missed a 3-pointer, and the Rams took over from there.
Timpview led for much of the game, but couldn't put Highland away. The T-Birds led by at least six points in the second, third and fourth quarters, and the Rams came back to tie it or take the lead each time.
"Holy cow, what a chess match," Wildeboer said. "We could never get away. They'd always make the adjustments and get back in the game. Every adjustment we made they'd counter with something. It was a great high school game."
Covey had 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting and added four assists, four steals and three rebounds. Robison had a game-high 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting with six rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.
Highland was once again led by its killer combo of Orchard and Nate Fakahafua. Orchard had 15 points, five assists and two steals. Fakahafua, who was injured with 3:03 left in the game and did not return, had 16 points, eight rebounds and three steals.
"Highland played great," Covey said. "They made a great run in the tournament. They hustled, and we hustled, too. It was just one of those battles that went back and forth."