Three weeks ago, Reno senior Mike Heydon thought his high school career could be over with a dislocated knee cap.
On Friday, he led the Huskies (20-6) to a state tournament berth, scoring nine of his game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter of a 58-53 semifinal win over McQueen (18-11) at Spanish Springs.
“The best part of that is we guaranteed ourselves another week together,” Reno coach Matt Ochs said. “Especially with a group of guys as good as this group, that’s the most important thing, that we have more time together.”
Hanging on to a 55-53 lead and 27.1 seconds left, Reno needed a stop. Tavian Cheathon-Dayton drove to the rim but his look rimmed out. He corralled his own miss and put up another point blank shot that would’ve tied the game. Again, it alluded the nylon. The second time around, Heydon grabbed the board.
He was fouled immediately and calmly walked to the other end of the floor where he drained both free throws and secured the Huskies’ spot in Saturday’s DI North title game. It is Reno’s second title game berth in three years.
“He (Heydon) was huge, huge,” Ochs said. “He’s a senior, he’s a leader, he’s our captain so we expect those things.”
Reno appeared in control late, leading 51-40 with 3:47 left. McQueen, however, went on a 9-2 run to get within two following a Jaylan Franklin jumper from the elbow with 1:16 remaining. Franklin, along with Garrett Ill, led the Lancers with 14 points.
The two squads both traded a bucket in the next 45 seconds before the Huskies hung on late.
Karn Goraya finished with 11 points in the winning cause. McQueen’s 6-10 center Octavian Corley never got in a rhythm but still finished in double figures with 11.
Reno led 28-16 at the half.
The Huskies will play Carson for the DI North championship on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Spanish Springs.