With his voice too hoarse to shout over the deafening noise inside the Phoenix Greenway gym, coach Howard Mueller retreated to the relative tranquility of the home locker room to give his take on what he’d just witnessed.
Greenway had just completed an unlikely fourth-quarter comeback to notch a 50-49 win over Glendale Deer Valley on Senior Night at Greenway Friday, and students and players had flooded the court to celebrate.
“I won’t sleep tonight,” Mueller said, “but what a way to go out.
“We got behind and we tested our character a little bit, and I was pretty happy with our kids fighting back the way they did.”
Greenway (18-5) entered the final period down 40-33, but chased Deer Valley (18-6) down thanks to a sensational performance by senior forward Chris Miller.
Miller scored 11 of his game-high 16 points in the fourth, including back-to-back 3-pointers with under a minute to go that tied it at 49.
“I just remember I did not want to lose with our home crowd here on Senior Night,” Miller said. “The adrenaline was pumping, and I knew I had to do something to put my team on the board and just give us a fighting chance to come back and win.”
After Miller’s second triple, Deer Valley threw up an airball and Greenway’s Noah King was fouled with 21 seconds left. The senior guard split his free throws on the 1-and-1 to put Greenway up 50-49.
Deer Valley elected to hold for the final shot, but Shawn Watts’ three bounced off the iron and Greenway grabbed the rebound to secure the win.
It was a stunning loss for a Division I Deer Valley team that appeared to have a firm grasp of the game against Division II Greenway. Greenway did itself no favors in the first half, missing countless layups and going 9 for 15 at the free-throw line.
But it cleaned up its game down the stretch, and Miller swooped in to save the day.
“We got in a hurry (in the first half), so we tried to get them to slow down and execute a little better,” Mueller said. “Once we took care of the ball and executed, obviously it was a better end result.
“I’m just so proud of our kids, the way they fought tonight.”