We’ve been blessed here at Naperville Sports Weekly with the highest of highlights… the always thrilling buzzer beater. In a little more than a three week span, our local teams gave us what seems like an unprecedented number of buzzer beaters… so let’s run through them. Now… this is in chronological order… not a ranking… so let’s begin on January 25th…
Naperville Central Girls basketball didn’t need a lot of divine intervention over the course of the season – the Redhawks won 20 games, after all. But a little help every now and then is never frowned upon… which is why, after Waubonsie’s Lauren McKnight hit a three to give the Warriors a 49-47 lead, Central’s Gabi Melby’s buzzer beating half court heave was a welcomed sight for the Redhawks. The victory kept what ultimately became a 7 game win streak alive.
Before January could expire, Naperville Central was in the thick of it once again… except this time it’s the boys… and instead of winning… well… That’s Metea’s role here. The Mustangs trailed late and put the game in the hands of Myles Leavy… and the senior doesn’t balk. Not only does he hit a game tying three… knotting things up at 49… but growing impatient with Central trying to run out the clock, he gets the swipe… and the shot to fall. It’s not a true buzzer beater… since time was still on the clock but… close enough.
Alright, we’re going to continue to cheat a little bit for this next one… it wasn’t a game winner… but it’s still a buzzer beater… and a sensational one too. With time winding down between Waubonsie and Neuqua in the first half, Mykah Berkompas followed up a miss and put it back it. End of the half, right? Wrong! Neuqua’s Ellie Wisner took the inbound pass, a few steps and a little oomph… and splashed it right in from half court. The Wildcats still drop the game but there’s nothing like the memory of a long range clock beater.
Okay, well the calendar flipped… but my goodness, Naperville Central continues to be front and center. On top of the hoopla with the cross-town classic, the fans inside Naperville North had no clue what was about to happen. After Riley Thompson lays it in to tie the game with 45 seconds left, it gives Central a chance to win it. So time for Cam Dougherty to get a bucket right? Nope… he gets triple teamed and dishes to Kyle Baskin… and his prayer is answered with the sound of leather on twine. Let the celebration commence!
We go to another crosstown affair,… oh, and on the same night. Waubonsie’s Marcus Skeete looking to play hero with the game tied at 50s… his shot is off the mark… but Carter Lagendorf is in the right place at the right time, putting the ball through with 1.8 seconds left. So little time for Neuqua to go coast to coast… Well, maybe not when you have the quarterback of the football time, Mark Gronowski inbounding… and you have a sweet-shooting scorer in Connor Davis hauling in the pass.. and 1 plus 1 equals 2… then this ball is going in. Actually, in this case it equals three… and the win.
Another Friday… another game featuring some dramatics with the game drawing to a close. And guess who… Central is on the court. John Poulakidas puts the Wildcats up by a single point with 9 seconds remaining… which, as we’ve learned – is too much time to hand the Redhawks. Cam Dougherty once again tasked with handling the basketball… and he gives off to Michael Murphy… and even though the shot goes wide… Michael Wood is there for the put back… and the win.
I’m not sure what kind of sorcery Central is practicing but the buzzer beater voodoo magic is working both ways for it. Kyle Baskin… you know, the junior who just won the game over North… he thinks he may have just given the Redhawks a chance at another dub… converting on the three point play… but Marcus Skeete has other ideas. The Warrior’s senior has led the program back to prominence the last few years… and shots like this help. The step back dagger kisses off the glass. The win just a sliver of the reason why Waubonsie wound up a 3 seed in the playoffs.
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