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Olive Branch rocks the 'Big House' with game-winning buzzer beater to beat Terry in MHSAA 6A Semifinal

Olive Branch senior Zahir Gutierrez hit the biggest shot in a game chock full of them.

With the final seconds ticking off the clock in overtime and the Conquistadors trailing by one point, Reece Garrison swung a pass to Gutierrez right in front of the Olive Branch bench and the 5-foot-10 guard buried a buzzer-beating three-pointer to lift Olive Branch to a 70-68 win over the Terry Bulldogs in the semifinal round of the MHSAA Class 6A Tournament at the Mississippi Coliseum.

“It was a blur,” Gutierrez said. “We saw the clock was winding down, and we didn’t panic. We knew exactly what we were going to do and we moved the ball around. My teammate trusted me enough to get me the ball to take the shot. That’s a shot I practice all the time. I stay after games and shoot and shoot and shoot, so it’s all muscle memory.”

The Conquistadors (26-4) will face the Ridgeland Titans at 4 p.m. Saturday with a golden ball on the line.

It’s a spot with which Olive Branch should be familiar — the Conquistadors have played for the title twice since winning it all in 2018 (in 2019 and 2022), but went home empty handed both times.

If they show the kind of mettle they showed Wednesday, they’ll be tough to beat.

Olive Branch jumped out to a big 17-8 lead in the first quarter, then weathered the storm as Terry opened the second quarter on a 13-0 run and held on for a 25-24 lead at the half.

Conquistadors senior Javion Steven had a big third quarter with three three-pointers to help Olive Branch to a 47-40 lead going into the fourth.

They led it 59-55 with 18.6 seconds left in regulation, but Terry's Quentin Wilson got a steal on an in-bounds play and a quick bucket to cut it to 59-57 with 13.4 seconds remaining. 

Olive Branch's Jerry Wall made just one of his two free throws on the other end, and Terry senior Jaden Harper made them pay with a buzzer-beating three-pointer from the parking lot to tie the game at 60-60 and send it to overtime.

Neither team led by more than three points at any point in the extra period. Terry led it 67-64 until Steven hit another three-pointer — his sixth of the night — to tie it with just over one minute to go.

Olive Branch fouled Keijuan Mangum, who made one of his two free throws with 45 seconds to go to give Terry the 68-67 lead. The Bulldogs got the ball back, too, but missed a contested layup with less than 10 seconds on the clock.

That's when Gutierrez stepped up and hit the biggest shot of his life.

“The only thing I can say after a game like that is that I’m proud of them," Rombaugh said. "It didn’t always go our way tonight, but they battled and supported each other. Zahir hit that last shot, and it’s just huge, you know? We had something called against their man-to-man and they came out in zone. I was going to call a quick timeout, but we swung it to Zahir and he hit it.”

On the other side of the court, it was complete heartbreak for Terry. Senior Avery Thomas finished his splendid high school career with a game-high 31 points and 14 rebounds.

"Both teams came out and played like it was a big game, cause that's what it was," Bulldog coach Chris Parker said. "You expect when you get to this point that there's no weak links, so you gotta come out and fight hard. That's what we did. In a game like this, somebody has to lose. You hate for it to be you and your kids, but such is life, and we have to take it."

Stephen finished with 26 points to lead Olive Branch. Wall finished with 21 and Garrison had 10 — plus one huge assist at the end.

Gutierrez finished with eight points. He made just three of his nine shots in the game, including a 1-for-6 stat line on layups.

“Zahir didn't have a great shooting night," Rombaugh said. "He missed a couple at the rim and a couple of jump shots. For him to hit that one, it’s huge, because it means his teammates didn’t give up on him, and he didn’t give up on himself.”