This one wasn’t for the faint of heart.
In a game that included 9 ties and 11 lead changes and featured high-flying slam dunks, skin-tearing loose ball scrambles and thrilling end-to-end action, the second boys basketball meeting of the season between St. Charles East and St. Charles North wasn’t decided until the final seconds of overtime Friday night.
With his team trailing 55-53, junior guard Dom Adduci canned a 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining in the 4-minute extra session to give the host Saints (11-7, 4-2) a 56-55 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Adduci, who led all players with 27 points, received a pass from sophomore point guard Cole Gentry on the wing before hitting the cold-blooded shot.
“I got it in the spot I like the most,” said Adduci, who scored all 6 of the Saints’ overtime points. “I shot it and it ended up going in.”
“I think Dom likes any spot on the floor,” said Saints coach Patrick Woods, whose team snapped a 3-game losing streak.
St. Charles North (10-7, 4-3) had ample opportunities of its own to win it in the final seconds.
First, Quinten Payne misfired on a 3-pointer from the top of the key but teammate Kyle Swanson dove to the floor to tie up the Saints’ Jake Asquini (7 points) for the rebound with 6.4 seconds left.
With the alternate possession arrow favoring the North Stars, Payne took the inbound pass from senior guard Tony Neari and drove along the baseline before getting fouled on his attempted reverse layup with four-tenths of a second remaining.
After the Saints burned their final timeout, Payne stepped to the free-throw line with one thought on his mind.
“My dad (Kent) and I shoot free throws every day in the gym so I stood up there and told myself I was going to knock two in a row down,” said Payne, who led the North Stars with 26 points, including all 5 of North’s points in the extra session.
While a raucous Saints’ student section raised the decibel level in the gym, Payne back-rimmed his first free-throw attempt.
His second foul shot rattled around before falling out, giving the Saints a hard-fought win and setting off a wild mid-court celebratory scene as the North Stars quickly departed for the visitors’ locker room.
“It was a little louder in the gym but they didn’t fall,” said Payne. “There’s nothing we can do about it now.”
“Quinten’s a competitor,” North Stars coach Tom Poulin said. “He’s got a huge heart and he wants to win as badly as anybody. He did everything he could.”
Payne helped send the game into overtime by draining a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 54 seconds remaining in regulation to tie it at 50-50.
“I know he feels sad but he shouldn’t because he kept them (North Stars) in there the whole way,” Woods said of Payne. “He was a beast tonight. I thought we defended him well but he still had 26 (points).”
Adduci and Gentry (12 points, 5 assists) combined for all 19 of the Saints’ third-quarter points as they whittled a 5-point halftime deficit down to 40-39 entering the final period.
“We need more than one scorer,” said Woods. “It can’t be just Dom (Adduci). Any time we get a second or third guy going, it’s going to help.”
Tyler Windau added 4 points and 7 rebounds, A.J. Washington had 3 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, and Ben Skoog recorded 3 points and 7 boards as the Saints remained 1 game behind Upstate Eight Conference River Division leader Larkin.
“We needed to send a message to everybody that we’re still alive with or without Kendall (injured senior guard Stephens),” said Adduci.
Alec Goetz and Swanson had 6 points apiece for the North Stars, who will host St. Charles East on Feb. 2.
“I think both teams are going to be better going forward because of a game like this tonight,” said Poulin.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.