Film study, game plans and scouting reports sometimes do not compare to desperation.
One good quarter, sometimes, can be enough to make up for three of the worst quarters of the season.
Sometimes was Saturday for Hug, which still needed overtime on top of everything else to hoist the Division I North region championship trophy after a 53-49 victory over upset-minded Carson in a hostile environment.
The Hawks, desperate to get back to the state tournament after a runner-up finish last year, upped their defensive pressure in the fourth quarter and erased a 15-point deficit to claim their third region title in five years.
"Pressure busts pipes and that's what we did," said Hug's Sam Williams, who iced the win with three free throws in the final minute of overtime.
Along with those pipes were the Senators' dreams for a first region title since 1995.
"They came out with some serious energy in the fourth quarter," Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia said. "At that point our guys were gassed, and then when you get that type of intensity thrown at you, you tend to turn the ball over. ... That's the bottom line, we just got worn out."
Carson expended its energy in its 2-3 zone defense that held Hug to single-digit scoring in each of the first three quarters. But the Hawks erupted for 20 in the fourth, whilst it held Carson to six, and had a shot to win it in regulation.
Masaki Nakayama, who spent the previous three days in the hospital with flu-like symptoms, missed a long 3-pointer just before the buzzer, but Hug had all the momentum and not even the boisterous home crowd that included 70 students whose tickets Mendeguia paid for the day before could swing it back to the Senators.
"I can't lie. We were worried in the third quarter," said Williams, who finished with 13 points but was contained well for much of the night. "But we wanted it that bad so we had to pull it together and that's what we did."
The Hawks also were desperate.
"Of course we were desperate," Hug first-year coach Keith Crawford said. "We were down 15 points at the time. We were down 15 points for about three or four minutes. We had to go to desperate measures."
Those measures forced myriad turnovers. But the Senators, who were led by Rafe King's 20 points, also missed four point-blank layups in the final four minutes, any one of which would have sent them to this week's state tournament in Las Vegas.
Instead, Raymond Kerr scored six of his 18 points in overtime and Hug will face either Bishop Gorman or Canyon Springs in Thursday's Division I semifinals at The Orleans Arena.
"I got to win this year," said Williams, the only Hug player who saw significant playing time a year ago. "I got to win."