Tiongson, Hoffman line up a victory in no time at all

In a bizarre finish, Hoffman Estates' Kevin Tiongson made 2 free throws with time expired to give the host Hawks a hotly contested 42-41 Mid-Suburban West boys basketball victory Friday over Conant.

Tiongson got to the line thanks to a rarely seen shooting foul behind the 3-point line at the horn with Hoffman (5-3, 1-2) trailing 41-40. After missing the first free throw, Tiongson made the tying and winning shots and was mobbed by his teammates and Hoffman fans.

"My hands were shaking," Tiongson (13 points) said. "I've never been in that position before. I knew I had to make 2 to win the game. The ref bailed us out on that."

"We got lucky," Hoffman coach Bill Wandro said. "We couldn't have picked a better guy to have at the line. He's a 93 percent free throw shooter.

"There were a lot of wacky things going on tonight."

Conant (4-4, 0-3) took its first lead since the 2:22 mark in the third quarter when Christian Sotos (game-high 23 points) coolly drained a long 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds left.

"We had a play set, and if it broke down, that was our second option," said Conant coach Tom McCormack of the play out of a timeout with 15.8 seconds left. "They took away the first option, and he made the shot.

"We left it in a position where they could take it out of our hands, and they did," McCormack said. "There are plenty of things we could have done. We can't blame anyone for making a bad call or someone making a bad play."

The largest lead either team could muster was Hoffman at 38-32 when Brandon Fischer (team-high 14 points) finished a fastbreak with an assist from Tiongson.

Garrett Gatz (11 points) hit a basket and a 3-pointer around a Sotos free throw and a pair by Hoffman's Tiongson to make it 40-38 with 31 seconds left.

Fischer and Lance Vesper (8 points after missing four games with an ankle injury) put some spark in Hoffman's offense. Vesper scored 6 first-half points, and Fischer, coming back from an injury, scored half of his 14 in the second quarter.

"We lost to South Elgin and Palatine on the last possession," Wandro said." We have to get to a point where we take better care of the ball."

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