EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – For 31 minutes and 56.9 seconds on Friday night, Eastwood sophomore EJ Avila sat on the Troopers’ bench, biding his time.
Avila came off the bench with 3.1 seconds left for an injured player in Friday’s pivotal District 1-6A seeding game against Franklin, calmly drilling two free throws to give the Troopers a 41-40 victory.
The co-District 1-6A champions battled tooth and nail for the right to the number one seed for next week’s Bi-District Playoffs, with Eastwood clinching the top seed vs. either Midland or San Angelo Central.
With Franklin leading Eastwood 40-39, Diego Carrera drove to the basket with under five seconds left. Carrera was fouled with 3.1 seconds to go and was injured on the play.
With Carrera unable to shoot the free throws, Avila stepped in. The sophomore hadn’t played a single second of the game; he should have been cold from sitting on the bench all night. Instead, he had ice in his veins.
Avila drilled the first free throw to tie the game at 40. After Franklin called a timeout to try to throw off his rhythm, Avila again went to the line and sank the second free throw to give Eastwood the lead. A last second Franklin shot went begging at the buzzer.
There was one other seeding game on the boys side in El Paso on Friday. In District 2-4A, Mountain View defeated Fabens 62-59. The Lobos earned the two seed out of that district and will host Austin next week in the Bi-District Playoffs.