Trailing 39-29 with 5:24 to play, the odds were stacked against the Warren boys basketball team Friday night at Lake Forest.
But the "never-say-die" Blue Devils somehow managed to pull out a miraculous and unlikely 48-46 North Suburban Lake Division victory over the Scouts with a familiar guard playing the role of hero for the second straight game.
One of 2 free throws by Lake Forest's Sam Downey gave the Scouts a 46-42 lead with 9.2 seconds to play. Warren senior Derek Mason hit his second 3-pointer to cut the gap to 46-45 with four seconds remaining.
Then came the unthinkable as Warren's Adrian Deere drew an offensive foul on Carter Bass in the backcourt to give the Blue Devils the ball under their own basket with four seconds still left.
With Bass fouled out, Warren had time for a brief huddle to set up what proved to be the winning play, and for the second straight game senior guard Aarias Austin hit a 3-pointer to win the game and set off a wild celebration by the Blue Devils' squad.
Austin got the ball on the right wing, and with a defender on him he hit an off-balance 3-pointer falling out of bounds with about 1.3 seconds to go before time expired on the snake-bitten Scouts.
Last Saturday, Austin hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Mundelein -- while Lake Forest (13-6, 4-5) was defeated that same night on a buzzer-beater against Zion-Benton.
"It was a great screen by (Dre Von) Hill and (Arthell) Rosquist, and Aarias just hit an unbelievable shot," said Warren coach Ryan Webber, whose team outscored Lake Forest 21-11 in the fourth quarter. "He's made shots like that since Day One when I moved here. I've never seen or heard of somebody hitting back-to-back buzzer beaters, so I'm glad he's on my team."
Warren (13-9, 5-5) cut the lead to 39-36 with 4:02 to play as Austin's high-arcing shot on a drive capped a 7-point run.
The Scouts' real Achilles heel in the fourth quarter was turnovers, committing 9 of their 18 turnovers in that period -- including 2 offensive fouls in the final 1:44 to help squander the lead.
"I thought they (Warren) executed down the stretch and we didn't," said Lake Forest coach Phil LaScala. "They hit two big 3's in the end and we've just got to be stronger and make better decisions."
Free-throw shooting almost did in the Blue Devils, as they only hit 6-for-12 from the line to 11-for-15 for the hosts.
Hill did hit 2 big free throws to cut the lead to 44-42 with 43.8 seconds left before Lake Forest's George Quall hit 1 of 2 to make the score 45-42 with 12.1 left.
Austin and Mason led Warren with 14 points each, while Hill added 8 and Deere 7 points. Six-7 sophomore Evan Boudreaux led the Scouts with 14 points, while teammate Ben Simpson had 10.
Austin and his teammates were ecstatic in the locker room after their amazing late-game heroics.
"We just continued to fight, Mason made a big 3, and Adrian just played great defense to take that charge," said Austin. "I knew I was going to get that look again, I just wanted to shoot the ball with confidence. That's all it was.
"As a kid you dream about hitting the winning shot, but to hit 2 in a row is just shocking."
Webber was happier than a lark following the game.
"We just kept competing, all the credit goes to these kids, and they executed plays down the stretch," said Webber, whose team trailed 35-27 after three quarters.