Wheaton North's boys basketball team couldn't have drawn it up any better.
The perfect play at the perfect time. Definitely the perfect player.
Matt Biegalski's 3-pointer at the buzzer powered the Falcons to a 63-62 victory over Addison Trail in Monday's opening-night action from the Blazers' preholiday tournament.
Addison Trail (2-5) took a 62-60 lead with four seconds left when Simon Jakubczak put back a James Pupillo miss. The Falcons (2-0) called a timeout facing a full-court decision on how to either send the game to overtime or win it.
The finale started with Nick Jordan inbounding the ball and Mike Cerone pushing it to midcourt, ultimately finding Biegalski on the left wing. With an Addison Trail defender flying at him, Biegalski calmly nailed the game-winning 3-pointer.
"I kind of just let it go and was hoping it went in, and we were all excited when it did," said Biegalski, who hit three of his four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. "Nick and Mike both made plays on that last one, and I just happened to have a couple steps on the guy so I was able to get the shot off."
For Addison Trail, Monday's loss marked the latest in a series of disappointing losses. It was the fourth time the Blazers took the lead in the final 15 seconds, and the third time they've emerged with a loss.
"Obviously, some credit goes to them, but we have to find out why we're putting ourselves in these positions," said Addison Trail coach Brendan Lyons. "We look at the last play, and obviously we have to convert there, but there's a lot more that went into that than just the last play."
Lyons stressed the start of the third quarter when, after the Blazers went to the half leading 30-28, Wheaton North used a 17-6 third-quarter run to build a 45-36 lead. Andrew Slivinski scored 9 of his team-high 20 points during the run.
Pupillo sparked the rally by scoring 14 of his game-high 26 points in the final 10 minutes. Pupillo played a great overall floor game, adding 6 assists and 5 steals.
Wheaton North led throughout the fourth quarter until the Blazers' Taylor White scored and then Pupillo got a steal and basket to tie the game at 60-60 with 2:23 left. After getting the ball back, Addison Trail drained nearly two minutes off the clock leading up to Jakubczak's putback.
Biegalski had 14 points and Jake Heggeland added 12 for the Falcons, while Ronald Duling and White scored 10 points apiece for Addison Trail.
"It was a great win for us," said Falcons coach Dave Brackmann. "We're trying to take steps in the right direction, and that was a good one to get."
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