No matter how big of a lead the No. 8-ranked Amity High School boys basketball team built Monday night, it disappeared in a flash.
The 3-point shooting of No. 7-ranked Horizon Christian brought the Hawks within a possession of the Warriors on multiple occasions in the second half Monday night.
But the experience of Amity’s seniors showed through in the fourth quarter as the Warriors pulled out a 55-47 home win against the defending Class 3A state champion Hawks in a West Valley League game.
“We had a 10-point lead, and multiple times that was three,” third-year Amity coach Justin Amaya said. “Multiple times we had a 10-point lead and then (Trent) Pihas would make an off-balance fading 3 and I felt like I watching Sports Center.
“They live on those 3’s. But my kids kept their cool, and we snuck out with the hard-fought win.”
Amity (18-3 overall) creates a tie with Horizon Christian (14-5) for the top spot in the West Valley League with both teams being 9-1 overall.
More than that, the win is a sign Amity has arrived among the elite teams in Class 3A.
“We’re excited,” said Amity senior Zach Wilson, who scored 17 points. “We knew this was a big game coming into it. It’s just nice to get a win.”
Amity, which won its eighth straight, led from the start and never trailed, but Horizon Christian always kept it interesting.
Amity’s 3-point shooting built a 34-21 lead with 2:18 left in the third on a 3-pointer by Lance Nelson, who finished with 13 points.
But by the end of the period the Warriors’ lead was 34-29.
Two four-point plays by Pihas in the fourth quarter kept Horizon Christian close, and his 3-pointer with 38 seconds left closed Amity’s lead to 50-47.
But the Warriors went 5 of 6 from the line from there to seal the win.
“This is probably the biggest win for us in three years,” Amaya said. “I know for me, I’m just proud of the seniors and everyone that played a role in it. That’s a good team.”