Neuqua Valley needed a buzzer-beater by Pat Kenny to defeat a feisty Bolingbrook squad Wednesday night.
The junior center's putback off a missed 3-pointer by Tyler Sutton gave the Wildcats a 50-48 nonconference win over the Raiders, finally putting away a team that had hung around until the end.
Tied 48-48 with 8.4 seconds left, Sutton came off a screen and took a 3-point shot that rimmed out, but Kenny was there to haul in the rebound and hit a 5-foot fadeaway jumper as time expired.
"Tyler got a good look," Kenny said of the missed 3-pointer. "I was in position for the rebound and was able to take the shot. Luckily, it went in."
Neuqua Valley coach Todd Sutton stressed to his team the importance of finding the right option and rebounding any missed shots.
"I told the guys to just know our options and then rebound," Sutton said. "Pat was in the right spot for the rebound and he made a big shot."
Twice, Neuqua Valley (5-4) jumped out to double-digit leads and both times Bolingbrook (5-3) cut the lead down to 2 in the third quarter and then eventually tied the game near the end.
After Josh Little scored the first basket of the game for Bolingbrook, Neuqua Valley went on an 11-0 run, ending with a steal and layup by Jabari Sandifer with 2:44 to go in the first quarter.
The Raiders were held to just 2 made field goals in the first eight minutes. However, they fought their way back with a tough inside game led by Ben Moore, who scored 11 of his team-high 17 points in the second quarter, all inside the paint.
Down 28-22 at halftime, the Raiders scored the first four points of the third quarter to cut the Neuqua Valley lead down to just two at 28-26. That's when Sutton got hot from 3-point range, knocking down 3 of 4 from beyond the arc in the third quarter, giving his team a 10-point lead going into the final eight minutes.
Bolingbrook outscored Neuqua Valley 14-6 in the fourth quarter as the Raiders tried to make a comeback. Down 48-44 with just over a minute left, Chad Cooke stole the ball from Sutton at midcourt and took it in for an uncontested layup.
After the Raiders gained possession off a missed free throw by Kenny, Moore tied the game with a post-up move that led to a turnaround and layup before Neuqua Valley called time out to set up the final basket.
"We've got to be ready to start off games," Bolingbrook coach Rob Brost said. "We're too good of a team to come out and play like we did in the first five minutes of the game."