It was one of those moments that can define a season. Down by a point with just seconds on the clock, Millikan sophomore Rob Diaz III willed his team to victory with a game-winning buzzer beater. The Rams remain in sole possession of second place thanks to the thrilling 57-56 victory.
“I can’t even talk right now,” said Diaz. “That was crazy.I was thinking I just need the ball in my hands, I can do this. And it happened.”
After a hard-fought game, Millikan had one last shot at it. A shot by Myles Carmon fell short, and Compton grabbed the rebound, but the player with the ball was falling out of bounds. The Compton player threw it back inbounds, and Diaz jumped in front and caught the ball with about five seconds on the clock. Diaz actually took a little look up at the scoreboard to see if he had to pull immediately or if he had time to get to a preferred spot.
There was enough time for him to move from right to left across the middle of the key, jumping as he moved and putting up a shot that went in purely.
“Honestly if anyone else had caught that pass I would have called a timeout,” said Millikan coach Nate Berger. “But you want the ball in Rob’s hands. He’s the guy. He wants the ball, he wants to be in that moment as a tenth grader. We all trust him.”
Diaz certainly paid that trust off with his game-high 23 points, including the basket of the season. Carmon backed him up with 14 points. Compton was led by Jabari Steward, who had 13 points and 19 rebounds, and Jordan Harvey, who had 15 points.
It was a frustrating loss for Compton; five of their eight losses have come by one possession.
The win keeps Millikan in sole possession of second place behind Long Beach Poly. If the Rams can get through their three-game league schedule next week without a loss, they’ll earn a chance to host the Jackrabbits with the league title on the line at the end of the regular season.