Down by five with a minute left in Tuesday’s game against Cienega, the Nogales Apaches boys basketball team battled back to tie the score with 17 seconds left — only to see Cienega’s Jose Santiago-Rivera drill a three-pointer with four seconds remaining to seal a 71-68 victory for the Bobcats.
Nogales trailed 31-27 at the half and 47-44 after three quarters, but Eduardo Herrera tied the game with a three-pointer to start the fourth period, then scored on two drives in the next two minutes as the Apaches kept pace.
Cienega pulled ahead on a three-point play by J.T. Elder (game-high 33 points), and the Bobcats eventually grew the lead to 68-63 on another basket and foul shot by Elder with 1:04 left in the game.
Steven Legleu got three points back for Nogales on a basket from behind the arc with 44 seconds remaining.
Then a Cienega turnover gave the ball back to the Apaches, and Legleu drove into the lane and scored to tie the score at 68.
But after the Bobcats called timeout with 13 seconds left, Santiago-Rivera (23 points) got free for the game-winning three-pointer.
Edgardo Zubiate led Nogales with 22 points and Legleu had 21. Julian Grijalva added nine points and eight rebounds.
With the loss, the Apaches’ regular-season record fell to 9-7. They wrap up regular-season play on Thursday at Sunnyside and on Tuesday, Feb. 11 at Marana.