Chuck Krafft, a Lansing-area writer, covered Tuesday night’s Class C quarterfinal at Owosso on his blog, the Bleacher Denizen. I saw the carnage firsthand as well, but I think the game’s final minute deserves a full-fledged rehash.
First (for the ADHD crowd), here’s the short of it:
Here’s how Krafft saw it (emphasis is added):
P-W misses a three point shot from the wing. Kyle Nurenberg grabs the offensive rebound, but P-W misses another three point shot. Adam Wesley races back on defense to stop Beecher from scoring an easy layup … Quay Burks inbounds the ball to Tommie Johnson for a layup that gives Beecher a 38-31 lead.
Adam Wesley hits a three point shot from the wing to cut the Beecher lead to 38-34 with 53.6 seconds left and stop a Beecher ten point late game run. Beecher is fouled and misses the front end of a one and one opportunity. P-W grabs the rebound, but throws a long pass out of bounds. Quay Burks is fouled and hits both ends of his one and one opportunity to push the Beecher lead to 40-34 with 36.6 seconds left.
Beecher commits a foul, but it’s only the fifth Beecher foul this half. P-W has the ball with 29.9 seconds left. Nick Spitzley jumps forward and draws a foul as he shoots from behind the three point line…
… Spitzley swishes one, two and three free throws to cut the lead to 40-37 with 27.6 seconds left. Quay Burks is fouled and sinks one of two free throws for Beecher with 25.3 seconds left to give Beecher a 41-37 lead. Kyle Nurenberg turns, jumps and rattles in a three point shot for P-W to cut the lead to 41-40. Before I can even finish my note, Nick Spitzley steals the ball and puts it in the hoop to give P-W a 42-41 lead with 4.1 seconds left in the game.
Beecher is only able to heave the ball from half court as the buzzer sounds.
Plenty of P-W fans actually missed what may have been the most improbable comeback they’ll ever see at any level. If I hadn’t been interested in the game’s final stats, truth be told, I’d have been in the parking lot with them. I think it’s worth pointing out that when Spitzley was fouled on the 3-point attempt, Beecher actually had fouls to give. That’s just another one in a long line of variables that had to go right for P-W and wrong for Beecher to effect this outcome.
Beecher’s head coach, one of the state’s best, had this to say after the game (via @sloc12):
Williams told Mlive’s Eric Woodyard that he shouldered the blame for the loss:
“I put it all back on me,” Williams said. “I could’ve called that timeout to get us settled down at the end (after Nurenberg’s shot). With the team that we have, where we came from last year and the way we started this year we have nothing to be ashamed of. These kids played their heart out all year long and gave me everything they had.”
On the bright side for Beecher, the Bucs are among the youngest teams I’ve seen playing in the quarterfinals at any level. Williams returns the vast majority of his roster including Quay Burks and Malik Ellison, two high-impact underclassmen. I’d bet the farm on the Bucs getting back to the Breslin where they belong.