PERU — Jarrett Olson made two pressure free throws with 6.8 seconds left, and a game-tying basket by Princeton’s Brenton Schmidt was waved off as St. Bede escaped with a 54-52 win over the rival Tigers at the Academy Friday.
“I’m happy with the W. But I would have loved to been more happy winning at Sherrard, too,” St. Bede coach Mike Kilmartin said of the Bruins’ last-second, 69-68 loss on Jan. 3 at Sherrard.
It was a decisively different ballgame than the first time the two teams met at the Plano Christmas Classic, where the St. Bruins bested the Tigers 71-39.
“It was back and forth, I don’t think we ever got (the lead),” PHS coach Jesse Brandt said. “We had a couple of chances and a couple of looks. But as I told the kids, I was proud with where we’re at. I think we’re taking steps in the right direction. Did I want to win the game? Heck yeah. I’m upset we lost, but I’m happy that we played better than we did in any of the four games at Plano.”
St. Bede led 37-30 at halftime and led by as much as eight points early in the fourth quarter at 49-41, before the Tigers made their charge. Tyler Clark’s turnaround shot in the post and Garrett Duffin’s hook shot capped a 7-0 PHS run to close within 49-48 with 2:35 remaining.
Duffin got the Tigers even at 52, thanks to his efforts on the offensive glass and quick wit. He asked for and was granted a timeout when he lost the handle on the ball going out of bounds. Maintaining possession with the generous timeout call, Duffin scored after two of his own misses off the offensive boards to tie the game at 52 with 8.5 rebounding.
Kilmartin said former NBA star Jason Kidd “ruined basketball forever” by doing that.
“He didn’t have possession on that. The ballgame’s over,” he said
Jack Brady connected with Olson on a half-court inbounds play, who was tripped up on his way to the hoop. Olson, who led St. Bede with 21 points, cashed in both foul shots to put the Bruins up 54-52.
The Tigers looked to Duffin, who led all scorers with 27 points, for another game-tying basket. He maneuvered his way through traffic and got a close, driving look at the basket, but missed. Schmidt grabbed the rebound and made his shot only to have it deemed after the buzzer by the officials.
“I don’t think it was before the buzzer, or it didn’t seem like it was, if it was,” Brandt said. “I thought we maybe got fouled on (Duffin’s) drive. We ran the play we were trying to run, run Garrett off a couple of screens, let him drive, and if he couldn’t get there, we had a couple of guys waiting to kick it to. He was able to get to the basket but just didn’t quite get it in.”
Kilmartin called a timeout before the Tigers inbounded to tell his kids not to give up a three-point shot like they did at Sherrard.
“(Duffin)’s their best player, but we told the kids not to help,” Kilmartin said. “We got beat at Sherrard on a 3 with two seconds left, so I wasn’t going to get beat on a 3. If we’re going to overtime, we’re going to go overtime. Just luckily he missed it … (Duffin’s) good. He’s deadly from the free-throw line; you can’t foul him.”
The Tigers answered a three-point shot by Justin Shaw to take a 9-3 lead to start the game. The Bruins went up 19-18 at quarter’s end on a putback by Sam Halm and outscored the Tigers 18-12 in the second quarter for a 37-30 halftime lead
Brandt said the difference between this game and the one they lost to St. Bede at Plano was turnovers.
“We didn’t turn the ball over on top like last time. That was the biggest difference for us; we didn’t allow them to get easy baskets in transition,” Brandt said.
• Notes: The game marked the 700th on the bench for Kilmartin, whose career started in the 1970s as a freshmen coach at St. Bede ... PHS won the sophomore prelim 52-40 despite making just 1 of 11 free throw attempts. Levi Bates ed PHS with 13 points and Tanner Kuhne added 10. Braidy Shipp, who Kilmartin praised for his timely free throws in the varsity game, led the St. Bede sophs with 12 points in two quarters of play … The Bureau County rivals will meet for the third time at Princeton on Feb. 7.