The baseball pass helped Lake Park to a 56-52 boys basketball victory at Streamwood Saturday.
Leading by a point with 15 seconds to play, the Lancers inbounded the ball against Streamwood's full-court press. Rather than play it safe, 6-foot-3 junior Sean Moore went for the home run -- a baseball pass that covered three quarters of the court.
The gamble paid off. The pass landed in the hands of streaking sophomore guard Marcus McDaniel. He took 2 dribbles, went up hard and got fouled as his layup fell through the net. McDaniel converted his free throw for a 53-49 lead with 15 seconds left.
"Coach wanted us to just execute the play and get it inbounds," McDaniel said. "(Moore) gave the sign for me to go long and he got me the ball. They were playing us upright instead of keeping us toward the basket, so I just stabbed and went away because nobody was back there."
"If he threw it out of bounds, we'd probably all be looking for a job tomorrow," Lake Park coach Josh Virostko said with a smile. "But he didn't throw it out of bounds and we made a nice pass, executed. We're lucky to have it work out."
It was the second time in the game the Lancers burned the Sabres with the same play. Streamwood coach Tim Jones reacted by slamming his clipboard to the floor as soon as McDaniel broke open.
"Coach was talking in the timeout about how we couldn't let that happen, but I guess it was just a mental miscue," Streamwood 6-foot-9 center Zack Harris said.
Undeterred, Streamwood hustled up court. Though the Sabres had connected on only 1 of 14 attempts from 3-point range to that point, senior guard Trevious Norman drained a 3-pointer with 8 seconds left to bring his team within 53-52.
With no timeouts remaining and seconds ticking off the clock, Jones called timeout anyway, knowing he'd automatically be assessed a technical foul that would stop the clock.
"I had to," Jones said. "They would have just dropped the ball on the floor and it's 4, 3, 2, 1 ..."
Lake Park senior guard Carlos Cortez calmly drilled both technical free throws with 4 seconds left to cap his team-best, 19-point performance.
The Lancers then inbounded to 6-4 senior Jake Ktsanes, who was immediately fouled. He hit his second free throw with 3 seconds left to finally ice a game the Lancers led 30-18 at halftime. It was the second straight win for Lake Park and the fourth straight loss for Streamwood.
"We were struggling," said Ktsanes (13 points, 5 rebounds). "We'd lost 3 in a row. Now, back-to-back wins. This could be the beginning of something good."
Lake Park led by 9 points with 4:41 left in the game after Moore sank an inside bucket, but the Sabres caught fire. Led by Harris, who in the fourth quarter scored 9 of his game-high 23 points and pulled down 4 of his game-high 11 rebounds, Streamwood embarked on a 14-4 run.
Jacob Siewert's drive against Lake Park's zone defense drew the Sabres within 3 points with 45 seconds remaining, and a transition bucket by Vince Williams trimmed the deficit to 50-49 with 18 seconds on the clock.
"We fought back and we played hard, we played tough," Jones said. "We have to execute a little bit better, but overall our effort was good. They're a good team."
"Streamwood didn't quit," Virostko said. " I give them all the credit in the world for their competitiveness."
Moore finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds for Lake Park. Siewert scored 9 points and Joel Lightbourne added 8 second-half points for Streamwood.