Oakmont's Padilla hits game winner against Bella Vista
Every basketball player strives for that perfect jump shot - a quick set-up to establish a strong base, followed by a high vertical, the ball rolling off the fingertips as it cuts through the air with a perfect spin. Players live for that moment when the ball shreds the net, that sound of satisfaction.
For Mitchell Padilla of Oakmont High School, his jump shot had perfect form, and it came at the perfect time. Padilla’s shot beat the buzzer and lifted the host Vikings over favored Bella Vista 55-53 in a Capital Valley Conference game Friday night.
The game was square at 53, and the Vikings had 17 seconds left to finish the job. Oakmont (11-8 overall, 2-1 CVC) drained the clock with solid ball-handling before Padilla drove the baseline and floated the shot into the bucket.
“The play kind of broke down, and then I was just thankful that my teammates had the confidence in me to get that shot,” Padilla said. “That’s really what it was. I’m always glad to have the opportunity to take that shot to give this great high school a victory.”
Oakmont coach Rick Campbell called a time out before the play.
“I’m kind of old school,” Campbell said. “The biggest things was draw something up that gets us the ball inbounds. We were trying to hold for the last shot. After that, we told them to just attack. Worst-case scenario, we get bonus basketball. Thankfully, Mitch stepped up and made a big shot.”
The score was tied at 40 going into the final period, and the Vikings took a six-point lead early in the quarter. With 1:44 remaining, Bella Vista point guard Ahmad Smith nailed a floater to bring the Broncos (16-4, 2-1) within two. Smith, who scored a team-high 15 points, tied the score with a layup in the final minute, and the teams exchanged free-throw attempts before Padilla’s winner.
It was a major-league victory for Oakmont following a loss to Christian Brothers on Wednesday and even sweeter given Bella Vista’s reputation and a roster that boasts three players listed at 6 feet 6 inches. The normally disciplined Broncos showed several weak points, though, managing only seven steals despite running a full-court press the entire game and going 8 for 15 from the line.
“If I had to bet on who would win this league, I have to say Bella Vista is really talented,” Campbell said. “I mean, they are really talented. Ahmad Smith was a handful. (K.J.) Logue, we don’t have an answer, other than to just make sure that we get some bodies on him.”
Said Padilla, “That’s a big win against a really good team. This is a big victory.”
Oakmont erased a 31-22 halftime deficit with a big third quarter. Sniper Hunter Ford nailed two three-pointers in the second half, leading to his game-high 16 points. He also led the team with six rebounds, including three in the fourth quarter.
“The biggest thing for us was just trying to maintain poise,” Campbell said. “We got a little sped up. Some of it’s on me I think. I try to put us into too many sets. I just backed off and said let’s do what we do. Move the ball, share the ball, be strong with it.”
Aggressive guard Dominic Marrero scored 14 points, and Padilla scored 13.
Oakmont will be busy next week, playing at Casa Roble (10-9, 2-1) on Wednesday and hosting press-happy Del Campo (16-4, 2-1) on Friday.
Oakmont 72, Bella Vista 62 – The Broncos drew to within five points in the fourth quarter, but the Vikings held off the late charge for a victory.
OAKMONT 55, BELLA VISTA 53
Ford 4 6-6 16, Padilla 5 2-2 13, Marrero 4 6-6 14, Hamric 2 2-3 6, Alsey 2 0-2 4, Courtryer 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 16-19 55.
Bella Vista (53)
Logue 6 2-6 14, Berkness 4 0-0 8, Smith 6 2-3 15, Wright 2 2-4 6, Salhani 0 0-0 0, Ciszewski 2 0-0 4, Hennen 1 2-2 4, Driggs 1 0-0 2, D’Alesandro 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 8-15 53.
Bella Vista 12 19 9 13 -- 53
Oakmont 9 13 18 15 -- 55
Three-point field goals – Oakmont 3 (Ford 2, Padilla), Bella Vista 1 (Smith). Rebounds – Oakmont 18 (Ford 6, Courtryer 4, Alsey 3, Hamric 2, Padilla 2, Marrero), Bella Vista 30 (Logue 8, Smith 7, Salhani 3, Wright 2, Berkness 2, Ciszewski 2, D’Alesandro 2, Hennen 2, Driggs, Wafer). Assists – Oakmont 6 (Marrero 3, Hamric 2, Padilla), Bella Vista 11 (Smith 4, Hennen 2, Berkness 2, Wright 2, Logue). Steals – Oakmont 7 (Alsey 3, Marrero 2, Hamric, Ford), Bella Vista 7 (Smith 2, Wright 2, Logue, Berkness, Ciszewski).