NAMPA — Dane Roy was rather calm considering the moment.
The Rocky Mountain boys basketball coach joined his legendary father, Emery Roy, who won a state-record nine state titles with the Meridian and Centennial High girls basketball programs.
Dane Roy pulled off the rare feat of winning back-to-back titles as the Grizzlies downed Hillcrest 59-51 in overtime in the 5A State Boys Championship game Saturday night at the Ford Idaho Center. But the most celebrating Roy did was casually tap one of his players on the back.
"That whole game I was so focused in on maybe changes we need to make or tweaks, so I never really got a sense that we're going to win the game," Roy said. "We were down the whole way until the very end, and at that point, I was almost in shock a little bit. But I'm also a pretty laid back guy for the most part."
Senior guard Tyler O’Donnell recorded a team-high 16 points, while senior guards Hunter Ranstrom and Garrett Hall scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Grizzlies, whose run to the title game was a bit unexpected.
The Grizzlies lost last year’s 5A Southern Idaho Conference Player of the Year, Kobe Terashima, as well as All-5A SIC members Kolby Lee and Jacob Erickson.
But the defending state champions proved they were still very much contenders. They held opponents to a 5A-low 45.4 points per game and won the 5A District III Championship for the second year in a row.
The Grizzlies entered state with a 13-game winning streak and a No. 4 state ranking in the 5A classification.
It turns out the title was Rocky Mountain's to lose all along. With the championship, the Grizzlies ended the season on a 16-game winning streak.
"People were counting us out, so it feels good," O'Donnell said. "But at the beginning of the year I don't think we deserved it. We lost three of four games at one point. But in those losses we learned a lot and we knew what we were capable of."
But it wasn’t easy and took one extra period.
The Grizzlies (24-3) trailed for much of the game and led for only three total minutes in regulation. But in overtime when it mattered the most, they took over.
Ranstrom got it started with a 22-foot three-pointer less than 30 seconds into overtime.
"I've been doing that my whole life," Ranstrom said. "So when I saw the opportunity when he was 3 feet off of me, I'm going to take it. It worked out pretty well."
From there, Rocky Mountain went on a 7-0 run to go up 56-49.
The Grizzlies didn’t allow Hillcrest (21-6) to score its first point until there were less than 22 seconds left in overtime. The deficit proved too much for the Knights to overcome.
The celebration of a repeat was on when Ranstrom ran out the final few seconds by dribbling the ball across midcourt and flicking it high up in the air just inside the key.
"That's the state championship I wanted to win right there," Ranstrom said. "Last year we didn't have to earn it quite as much. To be down by eight at halftime and win it in overtime like that, is unbelievable. It's quite an accomplishment, and this one was more of a thrill."
But the repeat hopes looked dim when the Grizzlies trailed by seven at 45-38 with 5:36 remaining. But after just falling short of taking back the lead for two-plus quarters, they finally regained the advantage.
Rocky Mountain went on a 11-2 over the next four minutes to take its first lead since the opening minute of the game. Hall sank a free throw to give Rocky Mountain a 48-47 lead with 1:47 remaining.
Following another free throw by Ranstrom with 1:33 left, Hillcrest tied the game 18 seconds later at 49-49. Hall nearly won the game in regulation but his floater rimmed out as the horn sounded.
After a rough first half, Rocky Mountain got itself back into the game in the second. The Grizzlies started the third quarter with a 10-2 run capped by a corner three by O’Donnell to tie the game at 27-27 with four minutes to go.
But the Knights closed the quarter on an 8-2 run to lead 35-29 heading into the fourth and final quarter.
"I've never had a team with the kind of grit and heart that these guys had," Roy said. "And it was all year long. It really was. I knew they weren't going to stop fighting and that it was just a matter of time until we hit a couple of shots to get back in it."
With the exception of a quick 3-pointer by sophomore guard Briggs Ranstrom that gave the Grizzlies a 3-0 a minute in, the first half proved to be a challenge. The Knights went on a 5-0 run and Rocky Mountain went nearly three minutes without scoring following the early three.
Briggs Ranstrom tied the game at 7-7 with two minutes remaining in the first, and Hall hit a three-pointer as time expired, but Hillcrest led 11-10 at the end of one.
The Grizzlies closed within one on two separate occasions in the second quarter, with the last being 16-15 with 3:35 left in the half. But each time, the Knights had an answer. They closed the half on a 9-2 run to take a 25-17 lead into the locker room.
Hillcrest shot nearly 58 percent from the field in the first half, while Rocky Mountain struggled at 31.8.
"We weren't hitting shots and mentally we weren't in it," O'Donnell said. "It was state championship jitters, I guess."
But the Grizzlies were able to overcome their first-half woes to give their coach multiple state titles just like his father. However, Dane still has seven more to go to match his father, and he knows it.
"No, I'm not going to last that long," Roy laughed.