For a second, maybe two, St. Francis senior Matt Bonner held his breath as he watched Collin Roy's off-balance 3-point shot fall softly through the Wheaton Academy net and heard the final buzzer blare, hoping he wouldn't also hear a referee's whistle.
"(Roy) drew contact and I was like, please don't blow that whistle," said Bonner, who was defending Roy. "Time expired and it was the biggest sigh of relief I've ever had in my life."
"I was hoping to try and draw the foul, but they didn't call it," Roy said. "I don't think it was a foul. We came up one point short."
St. Francis withstood an ambitious Roy-led comeback to win 64-63 Friday night in Wheaton and pull even with the Warriors atop the Suburban Christian Conference Blue Division.
"Good for him, he put the team on his back, for real," Bonner said of Roy, who scored 23 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter. "It was a big 3 at the end."
St. Francis (12-2, 4-1) earned a 51-35 after three quarters by committing just 2 turnovers and shooting 62 percent from the field. But Wheaton Academy (12-5, 4-1) slowly cut into the lead, reaching single digits on a pair of Roy free throws with 3:06 to play.
"He had an inspiring performance," Warriors coach Paul Ferguson said of Roy. "He is such a tough player. He carried us."
"We just had to attack and try to get open looks, hopefully get fouled and stop the clock," Roy added.
Two more Roy free throws with 30 seconds to play pulled the Warriors within a 3-pointer of tying the game, but with 6.4 seconds to go Bonner stepped to the line, the memory of making just 1 of 6 free throws in the final two minutes of a game against Aurora Central Catholic playing in his head.
"So when I stepped up to the line I wasn't going to miss those," Bonner said.
He made one, and that turned out to be the difference after Roy sank that final 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"I loved the way we came back and I loved how we didn't give up and we played hard till the end," Ferguson said. "I'm really proud of our effort in the third quarter. I wish we could've played a better second and third quarter."
St. Francis was concerned with how it played the fourth.
"I told the kids, when you're playing a team like that, you can't be overly impressed with yourself having a big lead because they have good shooters, they're well-coached and they run great offense," Spartans coach Bob Ward said. "We expected they'd make a run, and they did."
Andrew Kimball led the Spartans with 22 points, and sophomore Jason Sullivan came off the bench for 11, following Kimball's lead by hitting a couple of long 3-pointers.
"Kimball stepped up and made some big shots," Bonner said.
Gordon Behr added 11 points for the Warriors.
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