Evan Hertzog began pumping his fists after nailing a 3-pointer with seconds remaining in the third quarter at Friday night's home game.
The Moffat County High School senior's long-range shot gave the Bulldogs a 67-59 lead entering the fourth, as well as a shot at taking down the Western Slope's top team, Palisade.
Hertzog, who finished the game with 22 points, was "totally confident" MCHS would win the game when the fourth quarter began after he scored 10 points and dished out an assist in the final minutes of the third quarter.
And he had added motivation in this game.
After missing Tuesday's loss to Steamboat, "I let my team down last week and I promised them that we would win this game," he said.
The 6-foot wing player did just that, sealing the 81-79 win in the final 19.2 seconds. Twice he stepped to the free-throw line in a 1-in-1 situation. He made all four free-throw attempts.
"I wanted the ball (in the final seconds). ... I wanted to get my teammates' trust back," Hertzog said.
Palisade did not go easily. Twice in the final 30 seconds Palisade's Devin Schmitt scored on driving layups to bring the maroon Bulldogs within two. However, Hertzog responded with the game winning free throws.
But it wasn't just Hertzog who had big plays for MCHS. Eli Buckner scored 19 points, and J.T. Haddan had 15.
Clark Cleverly also hit several opportunistic shots in the in the first half, scoring 12 of his 15 points in the first 16 minutes of play. He had several buckets that gave the home team the lead after a Palisade score.
And if not for the marksmanship of Palisade from behind the 3-point line with six 3-pointers in the first half, three by 5-foot-11 Chris Williams, MCHS might have had a larger lead.
Despite Palisade's long distance attack, MCHS led 42-39 at halftime.
MCHS improves to 3-8 overall, and 1-3 in Western Slope play. Palisade drops to 8-3, 3-1.
Today's game against Delta has been canceled due to weather. No make-up game has been scheduled, not that it matters to Hertzog.
"We're building now," he said. "We're officially out of our slump, right now."