EL PASO — After fouling out with two minutes to play, Fieldcrest High School senior center Cam Grandy could only watch the conclusion of Friday's tense Class 2A El Paso-Gridley Regional title game.
But he wasn't worried.
"I knew my teammates would have my back and they did their job," said Grandy after the fifth-seeded Knights held off No. 7 seed EPG for a 49-40 victory.
"I'm so excited right now. I've never been more excited in my life," added freshman point guard Jaxon McKay, who scored 13 of his game-high 19 points in the third quarter as Fieldcrest built a 32-23 lead.
But the Knights had to survive a surge that saw the Titans climb within three midway through the fourth quarter before securing their berth in the Clifton Central Sectional, where they will face Chicago Corliss at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
"The guys, they just came together about a month ago. This is an unbelievable group of guys that never quit believing in each other," said Fieldcrest coach Matt Winkler, whose team extended its win streak to six.
Ryan Naas added 11 points with three 3-pointers in the first half for Fieldcrest, which improved to 19-10 overall after avenging a 61-59 loss to EPG (16-13) in January.
Jack Weber topped the Titans with 11 including nine in the second half. EPG shot 14 for 23 for the game, but just 4 of 20 in the first half and just 1 of 10 from beyond the arc.
"I thought we put our guys in good position to shoot and they just didn't go in," said EPG coach Nathaniel Meiss. "We talked at halftime about maybe getting to the foul line a little bit more and I thought we did better job of that in the second half."
In their packed home gym, the Titans got within 37-34 on a Weber jumper, prompting Winkler to take a timeout with 3:24 to play.
"I was worried, but (junior guard) Derek May came over to me and said, 'Coach, we've got it,'" said Winkler.
After McKay split the lane on a drive for a layup that pushed the lead back to five, Grandy picked up his fifth foul with 2:19 left.
But the Titans couldn't capitalize at the free-throw line and the lead grew to 42-35 when Clay Wells made two foul shots after Weber fouled out with :59.4 remaining.
"I was really worried when (Grandy) got his fifth, I really was," said Winkler. "Clay Wells stepped in and made two huge free throws and got two or three huge rebounds."
EPG was still in striking distance at 45-40 with 20 seconds left, but the Titans missed another trey and Fieldcrest made four more free throws to seal the victory.
"I think we did a great job of fighting and fighting back," said Meiss, whose team trailed 7-2 after one quarter and 18-12 at intermission. "They're a good team and you can't give them a lead like that because they're so good at spreading you out and holding the basketball."