Weston Ranch High was teetering on the brink of elimination against No. 13 Piedmont in the CIF NorCal Division II playoffs on Tuesday.
Down by as many as 11 points following a series of missed shots and opportunities, the No. 4 Cougars slowly but surely turned their fortunes around behind the play of Donjaé Lindsey, Jordahn Johnson and Gavin Wilburn, coming away with a wild 79-74 victory over the visiting Highlanders.
"We made enough plays at the end to get over the hump," said Weston Ranch coach Chris Teevan, who was proud of the way his team rebounded from a tough shooting night in the NorCal opener.
Lindsey, who helped in the comeback, hit 12 of his game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter. He added another seven in the extra session.
"That was craziest game since our (Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoff) win at Cosumnes Oaks," he said.
The Cougars (21-12) were also on the losing end of a crazy regular season game against Central Catholic, which won a buzzer-beating 3 from near midcourt to claim its Valley Oak League title.
Wilburn hit one of his own Tuesday night.
He struggled from the field against pesky Piedmont (24-6) until precious seconds before halftime.
With his team down 28-21, he delivered a three-quarter court shot from behind the opposite free throw line to beat buzzer.
"I think that shot gave us some momentum," said Wilburn, who kept encouraging his teammates to keep shooting.
"Donjaé was missing those short bunny (jumpers) — I told him those shots are going to drop," he added.
Wilburn was familiar with some of the Highlanders from playing AAU, in particular, 6-foot-5 senior forward Luke Barrett and senior guard David Kisieu.
But it was junior guard Luke Harris who wreaked havoc on the Cougars defense.
Wilburn, Johnson, and Lindsey had come up big late in the game. Down 58-50, Weston Ranch went on a 14-4 run in the final minutes of regulations highlighted by Lindsey coast-to-coast drive that turned out to be an and-one three-point play.
With 30.2 second left in regulation, the Cougars successfully pressured Piedmont as Wilburn came up with the steal and found Lindsey for two, making it a two-point deficit, 63-61.
Kisieu was fouled from there, hitting one of two free throws to put the Highlanders back up by three.
But then Wilburn seized the opportunity, driving the ball, sinking the shot and drawing the foul. As a result, Barrett, who had 19 points, fouled out.
With 8.8 seconds, Wilburn tied the game up at 64-64 with that free throw.
Piedmont still had enough time for one shot. The ball missed its mark as the Cougars' Keyon Forbes secured the OT by getting a hand on the rebound.
Lindsey gave Weston Ranch its first lead of the game to kick off the four-minute extra session.
The Highlanders answer was Harris, who scored 10 of his 28 points in the overtime.
Wilburn scored back-to-back baskets while Johnson netted one from the free throw line, giving his team a 75-72 edge with 21.4 seconds left.
Both teams matched free throws, with Piedmont having one last chance with the ball in Harris' hands.
He was closely guarded by Wilburn and was forced to take a wild shot from the top of the key. Johnson, who scooped up the rebound — he had 21 boards altogether to go along with his 18 points, two blocks and two steals — and closed out the game by sinking both free throws.
Wilburn also had 18 points, five rebounds, four steals and three blocks.
Besides Harris and Barrett, JoJo Murphy chipped in with 15 points for the Highlanders of the North Coast Section.
"They're a really good team," Teevan said of Piedmont.
The Highlanders used constant movement and pinpoint passing while constantly attacking the Weston Ranch defense.
They also hit their 3s, leading 22-16 in the second quarter.
"I knew I had to keep shooting," said Lindsey, who would come through later in the game.
Early in the fourth, Weston Ranch missed a series of shots on three possessions. Piedmont answered on the other end, with Barrett canning a 3 to give his team a 52-39 lead.
Lindsey's 3 with four minutes left in regulation helped cap a 9-2 spurt by the Cougars, who, by completing the comeback, will host No. 5 Oakland Tech, a 56-48 winner over No. 12 Menlo, at 7 p.m. on Thursday.