Every coach will tell you - fundamentals are essential.

When Cheyenne Mountain junior Javonte Johnson stepped to the line with just over a minute to play in double overtime, he thought back to all of those hours practicing his free throws.

The Sierra student section began chanting, “Overrated,” to the classification’s leading scorer.

Swish, swish.

Those two points were crucial for the Indians, who were locked in a back-and-forth overtime battle with No. 27 Sierra.

With a one-point lead thanks to Johnson’s fundamental shooting, Cheyenne Mountain focused on defense. And with a little help from a few missed Sierra shots, and a big rebound by senior Will Louis, the No. 11 Indians hung on to claim a 64-63 double-overtime victory to pinch their ticket to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2014.

“You work on that type of stuff your whole life,” Johnson said. “Getting a double-overtime win, it’s hard to win those, but we pulled it off.”

Late in the fourth quarter Cheyenne Mountain led by seven, but a 3-pointer by Sierra’s Demetrius Long kicked off a six-point run late, putting pressure on the Indians. A Cheyenne Mountain free throw put a game-winning basket out of reach for the Stallions with 14 seconds to play, but Sierra’s Isaiah Wilburn made a left-handed layup with just two seconds remaining to tie the game at 55 and force overtime.

“We clearly didn’t make it easy on ourselves in the fourth quarter, but we knew they were going to be tough,” Cheyenne Mountain coach Elgin Fitzgerald said. “There’s no safe lead against them. But to battle back was huge. We could have easily said they have the momentum and folded there in the overtime but we didn’t, we battled, and that was huge.”

Late in the first overtime period Sierra’s Eddie Whitmore sank a pair of free throws to give the Stallions a two-point lead.

Cheyenne Mountain senior captain Nicholas Bassett drove to the hoop for a layup that bounced off the right side of the rim. Junior Jaedn Harrison swooped in for the putback with less than 14 seconds left to eventually force double overtime. Whitmore attempted a 3-pointer at the buzzer that bounced off the rim.

“I came off that screen and I thought I had a good look, and Jaedn came in with a great rebound that kept us in the game,” Bassett said. “I haven’t had an atmosphere like this in four years at Cheyenne Mountain and to watch these kids come out and fight together and love each other it’s awesome.

“We told each other back in November when we signed these papers to play that we wanted to be in this position, so we couldn’t be happier.”

The second overtime period was not nearly as exciting. Whitmore opened the period making one of two free throw attempts, followed by Johnson’s points to take the lead.

With just over a minute to play Sierra stalled, waiting until the game had 12 seconds left to drive to the basket - eventually missing two shots. They were forced to foul Louis on the rebound with 2.1 seconds left. Louis missed both shots, but they weren't needed as Sierra did not have time to get a shot off after pulling down the final rebound.

“Outside of Lewis-Palmer we haven’t really played a team all year that really gets in your face and makes it hard on you. We knew that going in and we did turn the ball over a bit,” Fitzgerald said. “We’ve been in closer games, but we’ve always kind of had a lead. We haven’t really been in these back-and-forth games all year, so kind of the unknown of what to expect with that, to overcome the adversity we faced was huge.”

Whitmore ended the game with a season-high 27 points. Long and Imani Grigsby scored 11 each for Sierra. Cheyenne Mountain was led by Johnson with 27, and Bassett with 12. Harrison scored 11 and Louis finished with 10.

The Indians will move on to host No. 14 Pueblo East in the Class 4A quarterfinals on Saturday. In mid December, Cheyenne Mountain defeated East 79-64.

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