Just when it looked like the South Yosemite League boys basketball race would be thrown into late chaos, West High did what it had done all year.
The Vikings used a late run to beat Ridgeview 67-57 at home Tuesday and clinch the school's first league title since 1999.
"I'm proud of these kids," Vikings coach Tye Hammond said. "They've displayed toughness and character all year. There's been no lead we haven't been able to overcome and make it a close game. We fight and fight the whole way."
According to that script, Ridgeview (12-12, 4-3 SYL) led for much of the first three quarters Tuesday. The game was tied 43-43 headed to the fourth quarter, but Andre Brown hit a 3-pointer to put the Wolf Pack on top again.
It was 49-49 when the Vikings (17-6, 6-1) finally went on the run that would decide the game -- and the championship. Jonah Broom hit a 3-pointer, and Elray Coleman and Aris Banks made back-to-back transition buckets, followed by a putback from Malik Washington.
That completed an 11-2 run that left West with a nine-point lead and just more than 2 minutes to play.
"We've know we've got to attack every time we get the chance," said Coleman, who finished with 15 points. "If we get a steal, we've got to throw it ahead."
Broom scored 12 points, including seven in the fourth quarter, and Washington had 15 points to go with 16 rebounds, and he battled 6-foot-9 Ridgeview senior Richard Bivens all night. Bivens finished with 20 points and 20 rebounds, but only one of those points came in the fourth quarter.
To make matters worse, the Wolf Pack committed 26 turnovers, including nine in the fourth quarter.
"That's been our demise this year in close games that we lose, we'll kill ourselves with turnovers here and there," Ridgeview coach James Luckey said.
Ridgeview led 11-3 early, but West answered with a 15-4 run, and the teams battled through eight ties and nine lead changes.
"I told the guys, 'That's all you could ask for is going into the last week of the season is to play each other for a league title,'" Luckey said. "It wasn't us playing South or something and hoping (West would) lose. We got a chance to settle it ourselves. That's all you could ask for is to be in that position."
Both teams came in riding winning streaks: Ridgeview had won three in a row since it lost at home to West, and the Vikings had won four straight since losing an early league game to Golden Valley.
"After we took that 'L,' we had a talk and it changed everything," Coleman said. "I just told the seniors that this was the last opportunity we got. It was our last chance to keep playing together."
And West will get a chance to keep going, first Thursday against South and then in the D-III playoffs. But no matter what happens, the Vikings can finally add another year to the league-title banner in their gym.
"It feels amazing," Coleman said. "I'm just blessed. We're just really happy."