With nine-tenths of a second left, Willowbrook appeared to have secured its third win of the season.
With the score tied 52-52, senior Adam Hill was fouled beyond the 3-point line by Plainfield South's Tyler Smith. Hill split the first two free throws and missed the third one on purpose to try and keep the Cougars from setting up one last play.
However, the ball never hit the rim on the final free throw, giving Plainfield South one last chance down 53-52. Alonzo Garrett threw the ball the length of the court on an inbounds pass where Willowbrook was called for a foul on Plainfield South's Miles Snowden under the Cougars' basket.
With two-tenths of a second left, Snowden calmly sank both of the subsequent free throws, giving his team a 54-53 home victory Tuesday night.
"You only see this happen in movies," Willowbrook coach Chris Perkins said of the ending. "You never think it could happen in real life, especially when it happens to you."
Snowden remained confident heading to the line for the potential game-winners.
"When I hit the ground, I knew I was going to get the foul," Snowden said. "The only thing that was going through my mind was, 'Hit these two free throws.'"
The Warriors (2-4) dropped their second straight game by one point after falling 71-70 to Hinsdale South on Nov. 30. But the team looked poised to not repeat that same fate after being up by as many as 12 in the third quarter.
Willowbrook stormed out of the gate in the second half, scoring the first 12 points after being tied 27-27 at halftime. Edvinas Mickevicius kicked off the 12-0 run with a 3-pointer from the right wing. Nick Kilianek followed with a steal and fastbreak layup.
Tiger Greene finished the run with a slash through the lane to put his team up 39-27, the Warriors' largest lead of the night.
"Every game this year we've been in it down to the wire," Perkins said. "I feel like we should be 6-0 right now. For the guys not to be rewarded after enduring everything these past several years, it's very heartbreaking."
The Cougars (1-6) took the lead in the fourth quarter thanks to the 3-point shooting of Garrett. The senior guard knocked down three straight from beyond the arc, followed by a pair of free throws from Shawn Goff that gave Plainfield South a 50-43 lead.
Down 52-47 with 2:50 to go, the Warriors scored the next eight points beginning with a layup and followed by a 10-footer from Greene. Josh Joiner, Kilianek and Hill combined to go 4 of 7 from the free-throw line the rest of the way before Snowden's game-winning free throws.