Boys Basketball: Thornton’s buzzer-beater ends Andrew’s perfect run
Updated: January 31, 2012 9:41PM
Ahead 33-20 at the half Tuesday against Thornton, No. 4 Andrew appeared well on its way to its 17th consecutive victory to start the season.
Thornton, however, had other ideas.
Joshua Russell buried an 18-foot jumper at the buzzer to secure Thornton’s improbable 47-45 victory over host Andrew in a SouthWest Suburban Red tilt.
Russell used a crossover dribble and then a drop step before launching the game-winner from the left wing just over the out-stretched arm of Andrew’s Glorind Lisha, who provided blanket coverage.
“He played some good defense,” admitted Russell. “But I believed I could make that shot. It’s a great feeling.”
Moments earlier, it was Lisha who hit the big shot. His three-pointer with 28.1 seconds left tied the game 45-45.
It marked just the fourth converted field goal in the second half for the Thunderbolts (16-1, 7-1), who were 1 of 10 from the field in the third quarter. It was a different story in the opening 16 minutes, as Andrew converted 13 of 24 field goals, A 9 of 16 effort from the free-throw line didn’t help Andrew’s cause either.
“So many things led up to that last possession,” Andrew coach Mike O’Halloran said. “I think we got some good looks in the second half, but the shots just didn’t go down.”
Some of the credit for that goes to Thornton switching to a 2-3 defense in the second half.
“The key was tough defense and how we stifled them with the zone,” Thornton coach Troy Jackson said. “It got them out of their rhythm.”
The Wildcats (8-10, 6-2) rode strong second-half performances by seniors Edward Buie (18 points), Marcus Ford (11) and Russell (11). The trio combined for 25 of Thornton’s 27 second-half points. The Wildcats were a solid 13 of 17 from the charity stripe in the second-half, including an 8 of 10 effort in the fourth.
“Coach told us to go to the hole, hit our free throws and play good defense,” Ford said. “That’s what got us back into the game.”
Andrew’s Jubril Adekoya and Jawad Adekoya registered 11 points each. Jubril, however, was held without a field goal the final three quarters. Jawad brought the crowd to its feet with a magnificent left-handed tomahawk jam that gave Andrew a 28-18 second-quarter advantage.
The cheers were few and far between from that point on for Andrew fans.