West Hills College Coalinga rallied from double digits to beat College of the Sequoias, 87-85, in overtime on Wednesday night in front of a gym packed with Falcon fans.
WHCC snapped a two-game losing skid, one that dropped the team 12 spots to No. 17 in the state rankings. More importantly, the Falcons (14-4 overall) finished the first round of the Central Valley Conference schedule with a 5-2 mark - good for sole possession of third place in a tightly-contested race behind Fresno and Columbia.
The Falcons have a one-game edge on the Giants (4-3, 14-7) - and the two teams will likely have plenty on the line in the season finale in Visalia on Feb. 17.
Four sophomores led the way for the Falcons, who trailed by 11 early in the first half before cutting the COS lead to 40-37 at halftime.
Delvon Hightower scored a team-high 20 points; Darius Scott and Winder Joseph added 15; and Lloyd Hanna finished with 11. Hanna also led the team with nine rebounds and five assists.
The final 10 minutes of the second half went back-and-forth. In a wild final minute, WHCC trailed 74-73.
Freshman guard Ricardo Time grabbed a defensive rebound and quickly found Scott for an outlet pass. Scott raced down the floor, drew a foul, and tossed-up a right-hand shot from outside the paint. As he fell to the floor, Scott's miracle bank shot found the bottom of the net - giving the Falcons a 75-74 lead with 34 seconds left and sent the home crowd into a frenzy.
His subsequent free throw gave WHCC a 76-74 lead.
The Giants answered when Solomon Taylor sank a baseline floater, tying the score at 76-76 with 20 seconds remaining.
Scott's jumper on the left elbow bounced off the rim in the final seconds and COS grabbed the rebound to send the game to overtime.
Neither team could grab a two-score lead in the extra period. Joseph's three-pointer from the corner gave WHCC an 84-83 with 1:14 on the clock.
On the next possession, COS guard Kentrey Bynum drove the lane and drew a foul. He calmly sank both free throws to regain the lead at 85-84 with 56 seconds left.
Joseph quickly answered, drawing a foul on a lay-up attempt - barely missing the bank shot. His two free throws gave WHCC an 86-85 lead with only 46 seconds to go.
The sophomore guard's biggest moment was on the following possession on the defensive end. Guarding one of the Giants' best players, Austin Armstead in isolation, Joseph drew an offensive player control foul with 16 seconds left.
Hanna would sink one-of-two free throws to ice the game, 87-85. A desperation three-pointer from COS fell short at the buzzer, and the Falcons escaped with the victory.
UP NEXT: WHCC will host Reedley College (3-4, 7-12) on Saturday at 6 p.m.