Amir Royal admits it was lucky.
But sometimes you need that to upset the No. 1 team.
Royal heaved up a 40-footer as the shot clock was expiring in overtime, and it hit nothing but net for the Yakima Valley College sophomore.
The shot propelled the Yaks to a stunning 97-84 overtime upset over Clark College in the first round of the NWAACC men's basketball tournament Saturday at the Toyota Center.
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"I thought it might just hit the rim," he said. "It was just meant to be, I guess."
YVCC's Dabrail Henton had driven the lane and tried to pass to Royal, but he fumbled the ball. After a scrum on the floor, Royal grabbed it well beyond the 3-point arc with three seconds on the shot clock, turned, fired and drained the bomb to put the Yaks on top 83-78 with 1:59 left in the game.
"Sometimes it is better to be lucky than to be good," YVCC coach Ray Funk said.
The Yaks then made 14 of 16 free throws to close out the overtime and earn the win. YVCC will face Chemeketa in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. today.
Before Royal's shot was even possible, the Yaks had to get another big break.
Backup point guard Erik Martinez made a layup with 4 seconds left in regulation to tie the game and send it to overtime.
"The play was supposed to go to Dabrail," Martinez said. "I just took it, and the lane opened up and I went right up. I just thought, 'I better not miss.' "
Funk said that while the play was drawn up to go elsewhere, one of the options was for Martinez to go to the basket. He credited the Wapato graduate for making a good read and getting the tying bucket.
Martinez played big minutes throughout the game, as starting point guard Johnnie Diggs was mired in foul trouble.
Martinez finished with eight points, five steals and four assists. He was one of several backups to contribute.
"We just kind of persevered, especially our reserves," Funk said. "You have to have reserves that can hold the fort down. We went into halftime tied and that was big."
Twice in the second half it appeared the Penguins would pull away.
The first time, Clark went ahead 55-46 with 12:48 remaining, but YVCC went on an 11-2 run to tie it up at 57-57 with 8:57 remaining led by Cameron Jensen's six points.
A few minutes later, Clark's Lucas Swanson buried a 3-pointer for a 66-60 lead with 5:13 left.
But the Yaks again rallied, going on a 10-0 run highlighted by back-to-back layups by Royal to take a 70-66 lead with 3:03 remaining.
Royal didn't score his first points until the 16-minute mark of the second half, but the Yaks' leading scorer took over during the 10-0 run and hit the big shot in overtime.
"I was nervous. It was my first time being in the playoffs," Royal said of his rough start. "My teammates kept telling me to go hard and play my game."
Part of that game Saturday was an answered prayer from 40 feet.
Peninsula 74, Clackams 65: DeShaun Freeman had a double-double of 19 points and 16 rebounds to go with J.T. Ferrell's game-high 20 points as Peninsula opened up an eight-point lead in the first half and held on.
Sam Waller added 10 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Pirates.
Three Cougars scored in double digits, led by Taylor Dunn's 15 points. Brett Ball added 13 points and Jake Dewitt 10.
Tacoma 80, Walla Walla 73: Dallen Bills had 21 points and nine rebouds for Walla Walla, and Dylan Radliff and Caleb Bravard combined for 31 points, but the Warriors still lost to Tacoma.
Nate Walker led the Titans attack with 23 points, and Mark McLaughlin, the nation's leading scorer for two-year colleges (28.4 ppg), walked away with 16 points.
Chemeketa 94, Bellevue 84: Jordan Batey and Trevor Phillips each scored 15 points to lead a balanced Chemeketa attack as the Storm overcame 35 points from Bellevue's Jonathan Humphrie.
Humphries knocked down 8 of 14 shots from the 3-point line and was 9-for-11 at the free-throw line. Teammate Keaton Hayenga added 17 points and nine rebounds.
But the Storm had six players hit double figures in scoring. Phillips also pulled down 10 rebounds to lead a 40-31 advantage on the boards.
Mt. Hood 100, Shoreline 93: Spencer Clayton had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Mt. Hood's 15-point halftime edge was enough buffer to allow the Saints to hold off Shoreline.
Curtis Papenfuss and Coletun Tarr combined for 30 points and 18 rebounds for Mt. Hood.
Joe Bodman's 18 points and 21 rebounds anchored the Dolphins attack. Avery Scharer added 17 points and dished out 11 assists. However, Shoreline connected on just 12 of 45 3-pointers (27 percent).
Spokane 76, South Puget Sound 71: Preston Wynne poured in a game-high 37 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to carry Spokane to victory against South Puget Sound.
Wynn canned 10 of 17 3-point tries compared to SPS's 4-for-20 performance as a team. The Clippers countered with Anye Turner, who had 31 points and 12 rebounds.
Southwestern Oregon 75, Whatcom 71: Marcus Monroe had 21 points and Southwestern Oregon men overcame a 12-point halftime deficit.
Evan Coulter had 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Orcas, and Will Perry contributed a double double of 15 points and 11 rebounds.