One of the most intense and thrilling basketball victories in recent Coast Union High School history transpired Monday night, Jan. 7, in front of a raucous home crowd.
Junior David Amodei hit a free throw with three seconds on the clock to give Coast Union a 46-45 victory — punctuating a pressure-packed back-and-forth final minute that played out from the charity stripe.
The Broncos (11-8, 6-1 Coast Valley League) trailed Orcutt Academy 42-41 with under a minute left in the fourth quarter when Amodei was fouled and made both of his free throws, giving Coast a brief lead late in the fourth quarter.
An Orcutt player was then fouled and made both baskets; score 45-43 in the Spartans’ favor.
But with time running out, junior Nate Markham, the team’s top scorer at 18.2 points per game, was fouled and hit two free throws to tie the game.
“Nate hit the hardest free throws in basketball,” Coast head coach Gehrig Kniffen said. “Down two with 20 seconds left and you have to make both to tie.
“... He stepped up and knocked them down with so much confidence.”
With time running out and the score knotted at 45-45, the crowd created cacophony by stomping feet on the wooden bleachers and yelling.
Amodei was fouled again with three seconds left and was called upon to win the game. The guard calmly tossed in a free throw to ice it.
“I was so happy for him,” Kniffen said. “It was such a team win with all the guys contributing in some way. All in all, I’m just extremely proud of them and happy they got to experience a win like that.”
Since then, Coast Union powered past San Luis Obispo Classical Academy 52-28 on Friday, Jan. 11, and Valley Christian Academy 42-39 on Monday, Jan. 14, to remain in second place in the league standings.
The Broncos next play at Maricopa at 6:30 p.m. Friday; their next home game is Tuesday, Jan. 22, against Coastal Christian, currently in first place in the CVL with a 4-0 record. The 6:30 p.m. game will be broadcast on KTEA-FM (103.5) and streams on www.1035ktea.com.