Jake Toolson’s outside shot wasn’t falling Friday night. He got into foul trouble that caused him to miss the final 5:40 of the first half.
Still, the 6-foot-5, 205-pound senior guard found a way to rally Gilbert Highland past host Mesa Desert Ridge 90-85 in double overtime in a Division I, Section II boys basketball game.
Toolson scored 29 points, and worked out of traps and double teams with precision passes, and fought for big rebounds down the stretch in the second extra, four-minute period that helped Highland (14-4, 5-0) hold off Desert Ridge (11-5, 2-1) and its big three of Hunter Thomas, Teddy Allen and Cameron Chatwin.
With Thomas slashing down the middle, and Allen and Chatwin knocking down 3-pointers, Desert Ridge had a 64-62 lead with less than two minutes left in regulation.
Toolson, who has signed with Brigham Young, found Chip White inside for an easy basket.
White then forced Thomas into a five-second violation.
Toolson tried to muscle his way through a crowd twice with shots. He missed. There was no call, and the game went into overtime.
Toolson sank two foul shots, scored on a dunk and found White again for a layup and Highland looked in command with a 72-67 lead in the first OT.
But Allen scored on a drive, made a 3, and hit 1 of 2 foul shots for a 76-74 lead with 57 seconds left.
Cole McEuen’s basket tied it with 21 seconds left, and Allen missed an off-balanced 3-point attempt as time ran out, sending the game into a second extra period.
This time, Austin Witherill opened with a 3, Toolson made two free throws and Highland didn’t trail again in the final two minutes. Toolson made two more foul shots and Witherill sank four foul shots in the final 19 seconds to seal it.
“Whenever we come here, it’s a game,” Highland coach Derrick Donaldson said. “They hit a lot of 3s. As long as we could get it inside, we felt we could win.
“Jake is Jake in crunch time. He’s a guy we’re going to get the ball to, and everyone knows that.”
Toolson feeds off of the attention he gets with defenders trying to find ways to stop the 30-points-a-game scorer.
“Now that we’ve started the second half of the season, teams have seen what I’ve done, and they’re sending guys at me,” Toolson said. “I can still pass and facilitate. It still puts points on the board.”