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Life Christian Academy survives hold-your-breath finish, beats Zillah in overtime classic

After sending the game into an extra session with his last-second 3-pointer, Leopards' junior Luke Navarre's wide-open shot to win it at the end of OT rims off as Eagles celebrate 82-81 Class 1A regional-round victory

TACOMA - Charles Simmons joked the "law of averages" saved Life Christian Academy's boys basketball victory from the jaws of defeat.

Bradley Swillie said he stared at Zillah junior Luke Navarre's wide-open, game-winning 3-point attempt for seconds. "Felt like forever," Swillie said. "Time slowed down."

And then it became a reality - the Eagles survived a Class 1A regional-round overtime thriller, 82-81, at Foss High School.

Third-seeded Life Christian earned the automatic berth into the state quarterfinals, and will play the Freeman-King's Way Christian winner Thursday in the Yakima SunDome.

But Simmons wanted to enjoy this victory Saturday - one that saw 11 ties (and five different lead changes) in back-and-forth action.

"They are a good group," Simmons said. "(Clay) Delp is a lot better than I expected. They are scrappy. They are well-coached.

"But I think it showed a lot of my team's resilience to stay the course and come out with a victory.

The standouts came to play, too. Chae Haynes led all scorers with 32 points for the Eagles, while Swillie had 24.

Delp and Navarre led the sixth-seeded Leopards with 25 points apiece. Ashton Waldman added 22.

And Swillie, the passer, made the right read at the end of regulation when he fed Haynes inside for an easy bucket, giving Life Christian a 75-72 lead with 12 seconds to go.

But Zillah hurried up to its end, and Navarre swished a 3-pointer in the final second to send the game into overtime.

In overtime, this time Swillie was the attacker - and got down the right side of the lane, sinking an 8-footer to give the Eagles an 82-81 lead with 12.5 seconds remaining.

"I always want it in my hands," Swillie said.

Delp raced back the other way, drew a double team and in mid-air, kicked it to his left to a wide-open Navarre.

Navarre fired away at the buzzer. He thought he had it. But it rimmed off.

"We don’t get a lot of games like that where we are pushed," Simmons said.