Aaron Gregg won’t forget Tuesday night anytime soon.
The Vista Ridge senior hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Rangers a 62-59 overtime win over Vandegrift Tuesday night. It was his second buzzer beater of the season after he hit a 3-pointer to beat LBJ at the Austin Bowie Tournament in December.
“There’s really nothing better than that,” Gregg said. “With the crowd we had tonight and the support we had from family and friends, there’s not much that can top that game. I’ll remember that for a long time.”
Greg Brown III led the scoring for Vandegrift with 16 points, Alex Fernandes added 13 points, Justin Moore scored 12 and Travis Devine finished with eight points.
Vista Ridge sophomore Darius McBride scored a game-high 20 points, Quinton Taylor scored 11 points and Gregg finished with 15 points for the Rangers, including five in the overtime period.
“He’s somebody that puts in enough time into the game that wants that shot,” Vista Ridge head coach Clint Anderson said. “They came out here with everything that they had and fought. We’re still fighting for placement in the district, but we can’t come out of the gates flat again.”
Vandegrift opened the game on fire, jumping out to a 10-1 lead. Vista Ridge didn’t score its first field goal until the three-minute mark of the first quarter. But the Rangers started the second quarter on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to three points.
McBride hit a floater as time expired in the first half to give the Rangers a 32-30 halftime lead.
Vista Ridge went on a few runs in the third quarter, but every time the Rangers made a run, Vandegrift responded. Brown III, who was forced to the bench because of foul trouble in the first half, scored six points in the fourth quarter for the Vipers to tie the game at 55 apiece with just over there minutes left.
The Rangers played for the last shot with three minutes left. They would bring the ball across half court and hold the ball with no response from Vandegrift. In the last three minutes of play, there were three combined offensive possessions.
“That played into our hands,” Vandegrift head coach Cliff Ellis said. “We were tired and had a chance to take a break. They’re a high-tempo team and allowing us to sit back on our heels and see what they were going to do really helped get to overtime.”
At first, the gamble didn’t pay off. Gregg’s shot at the end of regulation was contested and missed. The Rangers played the same game in overtime, but Brandon Taylor had a thunderous putback slam and Gregg stole the ball and made an uncontested layup before hitting the game-winner two minutes later.
“Basketball is a game of chess,” Anderson said. “If they want to stay in the 2-3 zone, I’m going to sit out here and either go to overtime or win the game. It’s not very conducive for fans, but at the end of the day we’re trying to win games.”
Both Vandegrift and Vista Ridge have now gone to overtime in two of their first three district games. The Vipers lost to Leander 59-55 at home last Friday, while the Rangers fell to Leander 65-61 last Tuesday after an extra period.
Vista Ridge travels Hays to face the Rebels, while Vandegrift will look to earn its first district win when it hosts Hays on Friday night. Both games are set to tip off at 7:30 p.m.
“The last two games, we’ve played well enough to win,” Ellis said. “Sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way and they hit a big shot at home. My hat goes off to Vista Ridge. It was a great ballgame like every district ballgame is going to be.”
Cedar Park 56, Hutto 39
Rouse 56, Elgin 53
Leander 68, Hays 56
HS GIRLS BASKETBALL
Cedar Park 79, Hutto 37
Vandegrift 81, Vista Ridge 71
Rouse 61, Elgin 30
Hays 51, Leander 28