CORVALLIS — Alone he stood, in the corner of Alex Young's left eye and on the periphery of history.
There were five seconds left in the game and the Phoenix boys basketball team trailed Roosevelt by two points on Thursday.
Calmly, Justin Bohn received a pass from Young, pulled up as the defense reacted and released a 3-pointer from the left baseline.
As the throng of Phoenix students nearby looked on with frozen expressions, the ball sailed in the air before splashing through the net and giving the sixth-ranked Pirates a 42-41 victory over the ninth-ranked Roughriders in the Class 4A state semifinal game at Gill Coliseum.
The clutch shot and emotional victory left Bohn stunned for a moment and vaulted Phoenix into its first 4A state championship contest since 1992. The Pirates lost to Yamhill-Carlton that year. Last season, Phoenix fell to La Grande in the semifinals and eventually finished in fifth place.
"It's surreal right now," said Bohn, a senior guard. "I shot the ball, it went in, I didn't really know what happened when it went in. I don't know. I didn't want to get too excited because there was still time left on the clock. It was awesome. It was a great game."
Roosevelt was left with 2.8 seconds following Bohn's game-winning bucket. Bryan Archie's desperation heave was off, igniting a Pirate celebration.
"It's uncharted waters," Phoenix head coach Glenn Johannes said.
"Last year, we were in the semifinals and we had the same thing happen to us as far as hitting big shots. This game we hit our big shots.
Karma worked in our favor on that one. Even when (Roosevelt) went on their run, we knew we had this game in hand. Now we have to take care of business (today)."
Tyler Dungannon had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Bohn and Alex Young each added eight points for Phoenix, which led by as many as 14 points in the first half before finding itself in an edge-of-your-seat tilt late.
"You've got to trust in your teammates and, wow, they got it done tonight," Dungannon said.
The Pirates (22-6) overcame a cold stretch in the second quarter, a slow fourth-quarter start and a few Roughrider (17-8) rallies to survive.
Phoenix will play Cottage Grove today. The Lions (24-3) upset Skyline Conference champion Mazama (27-2) 57-42 in the other semifinal on Thursday.
The Pirates, who led by six points after the first quarter, opened the second period on an 8-0 run. A layup by Young, free throw from Bohn and 3-pointer by Alex Hobson boosted Phoenix's advantage to 18-6 with 6:54 left. Luke Brown's short jumper with 6:26 to go in the period gave the Pirates a 14-point lead, their largest of the game.
"I thought we played hard defense and forced some bad shots," Bohn said.
But after its early second-quarter hot stretch, Phoenix missed its final 11 shots of the period. Roosevelt's Riley Charlish converted a pair of free throws with 25 seconds remaining in the first half to leave his team trailing by just three, 23-20.
Dungannon finished 6-for-18 from the field, but saved his best for last. The junior guard recorded seven key points in the fourth quarter, draining a jumper with 2:50 left to give Phoenix a three-point lead and — after a 3-pointer by Charlish and open layup by Juwan Feliciano — scoring on a crafty pass from Brown to even the contest at 39 with just seconds remaining.
"When Tyler had success, he attacked the rim and that is what we talked about in the second half," Johannes said. "We were settling on some quick low-percentage shots and when we started moving the ball things worked out perfectly."
With 28 seconds left, Feliciano scored again, and Young's ensuing 3-pointer was off. But the Pirates — down by two points — regained possession of the ball. After the inbound pass and a few screens, Bohn locked up his team's title opportunity in dramatic fashion with a flick of his wrist.
"I've always dreamed of playing in a state championship," Bohn said.
"We are one step closer."
Young added eight rebounds and four assists. Joe Morales had 15 points and Charlish 13 for Roosevelt, which had a seven-game winning streak snapped.
Morales 6-14 1-2 15, Charlish 3-10 4-4 13, Feliciano 2-4 2-4 6, Archie 2-7 1-3 5, Gable 1-1 0-0 2, Knight 0-2 0-0 0, Barr 0-1 0-0 0, Bella 0-0 0-0 0, McCowan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-39 8-13 41.
Dungannon 6-18 1-2 15, Bohn 2-4 2-4 8, Young 3-10 2-2 8, Hobson 2-6 0-2 5, Brown 2-2 0-0 4, Richardson 1-1 0-0 2, Loper 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 16-42 5-10 42.
Roosevelt 6 14 4 17 — 41
Phoenix 12 11 9 10 — 42
3-point goals — Roosevelt 5-12 (Charlish 3-7, Morales 2-5), Phoenix 5-16 (Dungannon 2-9, Bohn 2-3, Hobson 1-1, Young, Alex 0-3). Fouled Out — Richardson, Dalton. Rebounds — Roosevelt 30 (Feliciano 7), Phoenix 25 (Dungannon 10). Assists — Roosevelt 6 (Morales 4), Phoenix 11 (Young 4). Total Fouls — Roosevelt 11, Phoenix 14. Technical Fouls — Richardson.
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org