LYLE - Bickleton sophomore Cody Loomis is accustomed to pressure, riding bucking bulls against a ticking clock.
So with 12 seconds to play, and his Bickleton boys basketball team trailing Arlington, Ore. by one, it was a relative cakewalk for Loomis to drain a game-winning jumper and grab a 48-47 win in Friday's opener at the Lyle Tourney.
"It was just back-and-forth all the way. Neither team led by more than four or five points," Bickleton Coach Ben McBride said of his team's win over the Honkers.
The Pirates edged out to a 22-17 halftime lead, only for Arlington to rally and take a 32-31 lead going into the fourth quarter. "It seemed like they hit everything they put up," McBride said of the Honkers' third quarter surge.
And that's when the buck riding, buzzer beating Loomis went to work, scoring nine of his 11 points in the final eight minutes.
But Loomis wasn't alone in securing the Pirates' season-opening win.
Tyler Collins played what McBride termed "his best game" with 13 points and 14 rebounds, 12 of those on the offensive glass.
Tyler Jensen sparked the Pirates as well, tallying a team-high 16 points and cleaning the glass with seven rebounds to go with four steals.
McBride said the difference in the game was Bickleton's execution down the stretch. "It seemed like last year we were just trying to hang on, but we did a good job against Arlington of building our confidence."
Bickleton's second game at the weekend tourney was Saturday against host Lyle. The Pirates again came up with late game heroics, rallying from a late 10-point deficit, before falling 61-52 in overtime to go to 1-1 on the season.
"It seemed like we just struggled all night against Lyle and forced a lot of shots," McBride said of his team's performance against the host Cougars.
Those difficulties were reflected on the scoreboard, as the Pirates trailed by 10 after the first quarter. Bickleton seemed to find its way in the second stanza, pulling to within six at halftime, before falling behind by 10 entering the final eight minutes.
Tyler Jensen rallied the Pirates with three treys in the final stanza, including one that tied the game for good with two minutes remaining in regulation. The junior scored 11 of his team-high 20 points in the final quarter.
"I was really happy with our effort in the fourth quarter," McBride reflected. "Last year if we were down by 10 points going into the fourth quarter that would have been it. But they really fought back against Lyle."
Eric Hess was a force in the paint for Bickleton, hauling down 14 rebounds to go with seven points. Tyler Collins recorded his second consecutive double-double, collecting 13 rebounds and scoring 10 points.
Even though the Pirates forced overtime, McBride said his team quickly had to resort to intentional fouling as Lyle grabbed an early lead. "It got away from us at the free throw line, they hit 10-of-13 in the overtime," he said.
Still the early season excitement "was a great experience for us," said McBride. "It was really important for the guys to get off to a good start."