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High school boys basketball: Jaxon Santiago’s game-winner punches Timpview’s ticket to 5A championship

Timpview junior Jaxon Santiago hit a floater in the lane at the buzzer as the T-Birds edged Farmington in the 5A semifinals.

Timpview players celebrate their win over Farmington during a 5A boys semifinal game at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020.
Timpview players celebrate their win over Farmington during a 5A boys semifinal game at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Timpview’s Jaxon Santiago was the recipient of much heckling from Farmington’s fans after he airballed a short floater in the lane in the first quarter of Thursday’s 5A semifinal.

Given a shot at redemption on a similar floater at the regulation buzzer, Timpview coach Kevin Santiago joked afterward that Jaxon’s shot barely did better on another ugly floater — but this time it at least hit rim.

To be more precise, his shot hit the rim, the backboard and then the rim three more times before dropping straight through the net with zeros on the clock as Timpview edged Farmington 49-47 in a thriller at the Huntsman Center to punch its ticket to Saturday’s championship.

“I told him after that was the ugliest layup jumper,” said Kevin Santiago.

Jaxon Santiago curled around a pick and caught the ball at the 3-point line with three seconds remaining, but immediately cut toward the basket, releasing the ball with 1.2 seconds remaining — just barely over the outstretched fingertips of Farmington center Truman Hendry.

Even though the ball bounced around the rim multiple times, Santiago said, “I had a feeling it was going in even though it was a little left.”

“Every game I play, they always tell me keep shooting, keep fighting. I couldn’t get anything to go but I went in there and was confident I was going to make it,” said Jaxon Santiago.

He was immediately mobbed by teammates as Timpview’s celebration went from one end of the court to the other.

“It’s so awesome. For me, seeing all my teammates jump around and the coaches, it’s awesome. There’s just nothing like it,” said Jaxon Santiago, who finished with six points on 2-of-6 shooting.

With the win, Timpview advances to Saturday’s championship at 1:30 p.m. as it looks to win its first state title since 2010.

There were seven ties and six lead changes in Thursday’s back-and-forth semifinal, with neither team leading by more than seven.

Farmington had possession with a chance to try to win the game, but turned the ball over with 27 seconds left on an errant entry pass that Timpview’s Jake Wahlin intercepted.

During the timeout, coach Santiago called a play to try and get point guard Coleman Ford into the lane, but just as the players stood up they all urged the coach to let them run “Cyclone.”

“And I said, ‘If you want, let’s go get it.’ We ran it, we ran it to perfection,” said Kevin Santiago.

Ford led Timpview with 15 points and four assists, while Wahlin added 14.

“That was one of the funnest, if not the funnest game I’ve ever played in. The atmosphere was great. Credit to those guys. They’re a helluva a team, but we executed our game plan and came out on a top,” said Ford.

In the third quarter, Timpview looked poised to potentially run away with the game. Leading 37-30 after a 12-0 run, it opted to stall 90 seconds and play for the final shot of the third quarter, which should’ve given it a nice leading heading into the fourth.

Farmington, however, stole the ball at midcourt with Collin Chandler scoring on a layup with three seconds left. He stole the ensuing inbounds pass and then hit both free throws after getting fouled to cut the lead to 37-34 heading into the fourth.

A Hendry 3-point play with 5:50 left tied the score at 41-41. On three different occasions over the rest of the quarter, Farmington took a two-point lead, only for Timpview to answer right back — including two layups from Wahlin.

His second layup with 1:12 remaining tied the game at 47 and was on same “Cyclone” play that won the game for the T-Birds on their final possession.

Hendry led Farmington in the loss with 14 points, while Chandler finished with 13 points after scoring just one point in the first half.