Marisa has been a photographer on the Harbinger staff for 3 years and the online photo editor for 2 years. Along with photography, she enjoys reading and painting and staying caught up on current events. Read Full »
The final seconds were ticking off the scoreboard as junior Gunnar Englund dribbled around the perimeter. The noise in the gym was deafening — the several hundred students packed into the SM West gymnasium were hollering and stomping their feet. The score read 31-31.
Englund had been the team leader all night. With 15 points — almost half of East’s total points — he had dominated the game as a point guard and had previously dropped the only East three point shot.
So in the final seconds of the game, with the game tied and SM West attempting a comeback victory, head coach Shawn Hair drew out a play to get the ball in Englund’s hands. East would stall until there was minimal time left on the clock; then sophomore Joey Wentz would hand the ball off to Englund for a final shot.
But the play didn’t go as planned. Wentz handed the ball to Englund, who was immediately double teamed. Englund passed the ball back to Wentz, who found himself taking a three point shot with three seconds remaining on the clock.
Nothing but net.
In confusion, SM West attempted to draw up two plays, using their timeouts to set up a final shot. But the inbounds pass was deflected, and there was nothing left for Vikings senior Louis Rollins to do but heave a one-handed shot at the backboard.
The Lancers had won, 31-34, in their second back-to-back buzzer beater win over SM West.
“I think I was [prepared],” Wentz said. “Gunnar gave me a good pass and I had my feet set and my hands ready. It’s always tough to win at West. Everybody was ready to go. I think it says a lot about our team how we came through and won.”
A low-scoring game for both teams, the game saw SM East mainly relying on six or seven players to play most of the game, with Englund and fellow junior Lucas Jones leading the team throughout the night. Jones had seven points on the night; the only other scorers were Wentz with eight points, senior Christian Blessen with two points and senior Collin Burns with two points.
The game was mainly dominated by defense, as both the Lancers and the Vikings struggled to finish baskets. Although the Vikings had more second chance opportunities under the basket, Jones made his presence formidable throughout the game, blocking and affecting shots with his size.
The Lancers held the lead for a majority of the time, but after stretching it to 10 points, they struggle during the fourth quarter. After a dry spell on offense and multiple turnovers, the Lancers found themselves tied and had to rely on Wentz’ final shot for the victory.
Leading the Vikings was senior Nick Banman, who fought inside on the post and had the only three pointer for SM West. Although Banman was a leader for the Vikings, he had four fouls by the end of third quarter, and his physical play diminished towards the end of the game.
At the end, the defensive battle favored the Lancers, who pulled off their second last-second victory of the regular season. The Lancers extended their regular season record to 3-1, and the win gave confidence to the young team.
“It felt good,” Englund said. “Coach and all my teammates told me I needed to be more aggressive so I just tried to attack more and it worked out pretty well. I think we still have room for improvement but we all play hard and I think we will just get more chemistry as the season goes on.”