Derek Check has beaten several teams with his late-game long range shooting this season.
This time, it was the Centennial senior guard's touch in close that sealed the deal.
Check made a driving layup with less than a second remaining to lift the visiting Golden Hawks to a dramatic 68-66 Southwest Yosemite League victory over Stockdale on Friday night.
Check's game-winning score came after he stole the ball from Stockdale near midcourt, with the help of Joel Melton.
"It feels great," Check said. "We did a great job of staying in front. My teammate, Joel Melton, did a great job of cutting them off. He made them lose the ball, and I ended up with the ball and I got to finish the play."
Down by four with less than 30 seconds remaining, Check drove the baseline for a short basket and then with just nine ticks left on the clock Malcolm Johnson tied things with a pair of free throws, setting up the game's dramatic conclusion.
Alec Check, Derek's younger brother, led Centennial (15-4, 2-0 SWYL) with 19 points, 12 of which came on second-half 3-pointers. Johnson finished with 17 points and Derek Check and Brandon Robinson chipped in 13 points apiece for the Golden Hawks, who snapped a four-game losing streak against the Mustangs.
"I'm excited about the win but I'm not real happy with the way we composed ourselves," Centennial coach Hernan Santiago said. "I thought it was a real tough game to officiate and I thought the officials did a really good job. I feel bad for their kids because they played so hard.
"They're so well coached. Coach Purdy is a phenomenal coach. ... Mentally, right now, we're struggling right now. We're so young."
Tucker Eenigenburg paced Stockdale (13-4, 1-1 SWYL) with a game-high 27 points. Robbie Purdy was Stockdale's second-leading scorer with 19 points. Christian Bayne had 14 points for the Mustangs.
Centennial jumped out to a 14-7 first quarter advantage and led the majority of the game.
The Golden Hawks led 45-35 with 1:56 left in the third quarter before Stockdale came charging back.
A Bayne 3-pointer from the right corner cut the deficit to 50-49 at the 5:39 mark of the final period.
Three minutes later the Mustangs took their first lead, 60-58, when Eenigenburg, who had the hot hand all night, swished a 3-pointer from the left corner.
But three Derek Check layups, two off of steals, in the final 1:22 proved to be the difference.
"We played very poorly the first three, three-and-a-half quarters, maybe the worst we played all year," and were tough enough to come back and put ourselves in a position that, even though we probably don't deserve to win, should have won," Stockdale coach Dave Purdy said.
Johnson's clutch free throws in the waning seconds capped a night in which he was just 8 of 18 from the foul line.
Overall, the Golden Hawks shot 47 percent (16 of 34) from the free throw line.
Stockdale was 23 of 31 (74 percent) from the charity stripe.
Eenigenburg, Alec Check, and Robinson all fouled out.
Eenigenburg, Stockdale's most reliable go-to guy all night, picked up his fifth foul with 1:45 left.
"We let the pressure get to us," Eenigenburg said. "We just have to learn from this and move on to the next game. ... The heart of the guys is really great. We have the heart. It's just the execution that we need to touch up on."
Centennial shot 40.7-percent (22 of 54) from the field, while Stockdale connected on 34.5 percent (19 of 55) of its shots from the floor.
The Golden Hawks committed just 8 turnovers, compared to 15 by the Mustangs.