The Payson Longhorns basketball team advanced to the championship game that will be played Saturday night after nipping the Holbrook Roadrunners Friday afternoon 58-57.
Junior Oliver Lewinson saved the nip-and-tuck game with a key block of an Olin Hatch shot with 1.6 seconds left in the game. Holbrook had one last chance, but a last-second shot by Jason Belin was short.
Payson fell behind early and trailed 13-6 after one quarter.
Payson Coach Chuck Hardt said, defensively, the Longhorns were not doing a good off-the-ball defense.
The Roadrunners' lead grew to 11 in the second quarter before Payson rallied to cut the deficit to six at halftime.
In the third quarter Payson held Holbrook without a point for more than five minutes, and took a two-point lead into the final quarter.
With almost four minutes left in the game, Ricky Attaki hit two three-pointers to give the Roadrunners a two-point lead.
Payson guard Hunter Hardt responded with a three-pointer of his own as Payson recaptured the lead.
After Holbrook took the lead, Lewinson was fouled with 54 seconds left and sank both free throws to give Payson a one-point lead.
With 35 seconds left, Hardt stole the ball and fed Miles Huff for a layup and a three-point lead.
With about 15 seconds left, Belin hit a short jumper to cut the lead to one.
After Lewinson barely overthrew Huff on a baseball pass, with 10 seconds left, he blocked Hatch's shot out of bounds with less than two seconds left in the game.
Lewinson led Payson in scoring with 17 points, while Huff chipped in another 14. Hardt and Levi Neal added eight points apiece.
The Longhorns will face Fountain Hills in the championship game Saturday at Jobing.com arena in Glendale. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.