Dom Adduci might soon be on the receiving end of a few free meals from his teammates.
With 1.6 seconds remaining and the game between St. Charles East and Glenbard East tied at 61-61, the Saints' junior guard stole the long inbound pass, took a dribble and let fly with a desperation heave near midcourt.
"I saw it in the air and it was going right," said Adduci. "I thought to myself, 'there's no way that's going in.'"
The ball caromed off the backboard and fell through the net for an improbable game-winning 3-pointer, as the Saints (9-3) edged Glenbard East 64-61 in Friday's seventh-place quarterfinal round of the Proviso West Holiday Basketball Tournament in Hillside.
"We play horse from time to time and we shoot those half-court shots," said Adduci, who finished with a team-leading 24 points, 5 assists and 4 steals. "We usually do it for a lunch and apparently it paid off. Now I'm going to try and get as much as I can out of these guys."
St. Charles East, which built a 54-44 lead early in the fourth quarter, was forced to rally after the Rams (8-4) enjoyed an 11-0 run that was capped by a thunderous dunk by Marvin Grant-Clark (25 points) to go up 55-54 with 3:38 remaining.
From there, it was tight the rest of the way, as a 3-pointer from sophomore Jake Asquini gave the Saints a 59-58 lead with 2:44 left before the Rams' Mike Kjeldsen connected on a 3-pointer of his own just 7 seconds later to put Glenbard back on top, 61-59.
Junior forward A.J. Washington's (12 points, 7 rebounds) tip-in tied the game at 61-61 with 1:17 left.
After a Rams' turnover, St. Charles East sophomore guard Cole Gentry (7 points) misfired on a jumper with 2 seconds left and Glenbard secured the rebound and called a quick timeout to set up a play.
"The only thing we drew up was to have (6-foot-6) David Mason on the (inbound) ball," said Saints coach Patrick Woods. "After that, it was a crapshoot."
Immediately after hitting the first game-winning shot of his high school career, Adduci raced toward the other end of the fieldhouse before being mobbed by his jubilant teammates.
"I can't describe it -- it's amazing," said Adduci. "I was shocked when it went in but it was the best feeling ever, especially for the win."
The Saints also did it without the services of senior standout Kendall Stephens, who remains "day-to-day" after a hard landing on his right shoulder in the fourth quarter of Thursday's loss to Stevenson.
"We talked about people stepping up at our walk-through today, and I thought that we had a lot of people step up, especially in the scoring role," said Woods. "Cole (Gentry) and Jake (Asquini) definitely knocked down some shots, and then Dom (Adduci) played well, too."
Asquini made 4 of his 5 3-point attempts and finished with 12 points in 15 minutes of playing time.
"I have to yell at him to shoot sometimes," said Woods, whose team will face St. Joseph at 3:15 p.m. in Saturday's seventh-place semifinals. "I think he got the message."
Junior guard Jaron Hall added 23 points for the Rams.
"Like we told our guys, it really wasn't won or lost in those last 1.6 seconds," said Glenbard coach Scott Miller. "We felt like defensively we had some lapses throughout the game. That's what we've got to get better at."