WOODROW — Coronado’s buzzer-beating win Friday read like a novel with chapters.
The team had center Bronzae Giddens carry it at the beginning, guards Blair Conwright and Dwaine Anderson kept the book going in the middle periods and then backup guard Caleb Wilborn provided a thrilling ending.
Wilborn’s jumper with no time left on the clock from about 12 feet gave the Mustangs a 64-62 road win on the first night of District 4-5A play after 11 lead changes.
“The feeling is indescribable,” Wilborn said following the game. “Bronzae got the ball off a missed free throw and they were denying both our one and our four, so he found me. I just pushed it up the floor as fast as I could because I didn’t know how much time I had left. Got down to where I normally take my shots and it went in.”
It looked like it was Lubbock-Cooper’s game to win with seven seconds left. Raa’mah Murphy drove and got Coronado’s Amhari Williams to commit a defensive charge with both teams in the bonus.
Murphy hit his first shot to tie the game, 62-62, but the second one rimmed out and into the hands of Giddens before he started a sequence that sent the Coronado bench into a frenzy.
Fouling happened early and often before the end. Both teams combined for 46 fouls. Only Pirates starting post Brendan Blalock ended up fouling out, and that happened around the 3:00 mark of the fourth quarter, but both coaches were sweating bullets near the end.
Giddens finished with four fouls toward seven points scored in the first quarter to spearhead an opening 8-3 run before becoming a rebound machine and Conwright wound down with four fouls against a game-best 19 points.
Giddens recorded 11 defensive rebounds and another four on the offensive end.
Both teams could have afforded more in the free-throw department.
Cooper (13-9, 0-1) shot 9-for-24 from the line. Coronado (13-10, 1-0) shot 10 of 20.
The big finish was set up mostly by what happened on the court.
Conwright and Anderson, who came off the bench, got going in the second quarter after the Mustangs built up a first-quarter lead of 19-10. The Pirates tied the game, 21-21, midway through the second before a lane violation took away their chance to own their first lead.
Coronado ended up not trailing through the first half, but Cooper had its first lead at the 5:47 mark of the third quarter and the two teams never got farther away from each other than five points afterward. That five-point lead belonged the Pirates.
“I’d say we’ve improved a great deal,” said Mustangs coach Layne Sheets, referring to an up-and-down non-district performance. “Games like Abilene Wylie really helped us get to games like this. Those games helped prepare us for this. We lost those games, and you don’t want to lose any games, but I’m proud the kids took those losses, didn’t get down and kept on fighting.”
Player of the Game
Bronzae Giddens, Sr., C, Coronado
The 6-foot-7 big man pulled down 15 rebounds and spearheaded a run that allowed the Mustangs to hold the lead through the first half. He also set up Caleb Wilborn for the big finish.
Daniel Fiddler recorded a double-double for Cooper with a team second-best 15 points and 12 boards.
Coronado hosts Lubbock High at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Cooper will travel to Monterey on Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. game.
CORONADO 64, LUBBOCK-COOPER 62
Coronado 19 16 14 15 — 64
Cooper 10 22 16 14 — 62
Individual scoring: Coronado, Blair Conwright 19, Dwaine Anderson 15, Amhari Williams 8, Bronzae Giddens 7, Caleb Wilborn 6, Carter Suttles 3, Mikael Garza 3, Christian Akard 2; Cooper, Raa’mah Murphy 18, Daniel Fiddler 15, Cameron Drainville 7, Kade Johnston 7,Brendan Blalock 6, Trey Vasquez 5, Andrew Simnacher 4.