Only 4 seconds were left on the clock, and Grossmont fans were biting fingernails, their boys basketball team behind by a point.
But G-House loyalists including pizza-eating middle school guests exploded in cheers Friday night after Anthony Lawrence inbounded a bounce pass to freshman center Tommy Rutherford, whose bank shot from under the basket put the Hillers ahead 54-53 against West Hills High School.
When a desperation half-court Wolfpack heave fell short, fans stormed the GHS court to celebrate a victory three days after their team collapsed in the fourth period in a loss to Helix.
Rutherford led all scorers with 22 points, making up for a poor night at the free-throw line, where he was 10-of-22. Jake Herrod drained three three-pointers for Grossmont.
Senior forward Jeron Satterfield was high-scorer for the Pack with 13 points, followed by senior guard Martin Panayotov with 10. The Foothillers and Wolfpack were tied 25-25 at halftime in a game that had the feel of a CIF playoff.
Adding to the spectacle was West Hills cheerleader Jessica Levitt, who performed a series of backflips during breaks. But Grossmont fans had their own gymnast to cheer as football star Ryan Green gamely tried his own somersaults, and other boys did the same.
Coach Frank Foggiano’s Hillers boosted their season record to 14-9 (6-2 league), while coach Jeff Armstrong saw his Wolfpack fall to 14-8 (4-4). Grossmont travels to Steele Canyon for a 6 p.m. game Tuesday, while West Hills travels to Helix at the same time.