By Michael Hicks
GREELEY — Jeff Shields hit a 3-pointer with 1 second left in overtime as Berthoud’s boys’ basketball team opened the 2008-09 season with a 51-49 victory over host Greeley Central on Tuesday night.
The win marked the first time since Feb. 28, 2003 — a stretch of eight games — that the Spartans have beaten Greeley Central. It also matched Berthoud’s win total from a season ago when the Spartans went 1-22.
“It’s a huge win. We already tied as many wins as we had last year and this is the first game. So we can only build from here,” Shields said.
Berthoud led by 15 points early in the third quarter before foul trouble and the play of the Wildcats’ Gilbert Vasquez rallied Greeley Central. Down 31-16, the Wildcats scored 20 of the game’s next 25 points to tie the game at 36 with 4 minutes left in regulation.
The game was tied three more times before Shields missed a potential game-winning shot at the end of regulation to send the game into an extra session. Given a second chance in overtime, Shields didn’t miss again.
“I saw both the defenders penetrate with Ryan’s penetration and I was like please Ryan just give it to me because I know I’ll make it,” Shields said. “I wasn’t shooting too hot today, but I knew if I got the ball with that shot I was going to hit it. I already had one game-winner that I missed at the end of the fourth quarter. I figured I might as well hit it again from the corner.”
Joel Maly led Berthoud with 16 points. Shields added 10. Vasquez scored a game-high 17 points to lead Greeley Central. Xzaivier James added 13 for the Wildcats.