Justin Busch dreams all the time about winning a game in the last second. He had his opportunity Saturday and didn't disappoint.
The Bartlett senior guard delivered 1 of 2 free throws with 0.4 seconds remaining on the clock to give the Hawks a hard-fought 59-58 win over Marian Central in opening-round play of the Hinkle Holiday Classic hosted by Jacobs High School.
Here's the scenario which set up Busch's heroics.
With the score tied at 58 and 5.6 seconds left, Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith called time out.
Busch took the inbounds pass, maneuvered toward the basket and was able to get a shot off but was fouled.
The senior missed the first free throw attempt, before delivering the game-winner for the Hawks (8-3).
"I took too much time and was thinking about it too much on the first free throw," said Busch. "I didn't follow through and pulled up short. On the second free throw, I just followed through and I knew the ball was going in. It was a hard-fought win. We just played lock down defense in the fourth quarter."
With Ryan DiCanio, scoring 17 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, Bartlett seemed to be in good shape after a 3-pointer by DiCanio with 3:37 left gave the Hawks a 6-point, 55-49 advantage.
But the pesky Hurricanes refused to quit and tied the game at 58 on a putback by Nate Patterson with 46 seconds left.
"Our bracket with Marian Central, Zion Benton and Crystal Lake South is absolutely brutal," said Wolfsmith. "Those are three quality teams. Marian Central plays hard, plays good defense and pounds the ball inside. We weren't as consistent as I would have liked. But I will take the win and we will learn from it."
DiCanio, who connected on 2 of 4 shots from 3-point range, also grabbed 8 rebounds and dished out 5 assists.
"My shot really felt good the second half," said DiCanio. "I struggled in the first half, but my shot felt much better in the second half. I had a couple shots that went in and out. This was a good win to start the tournament."
Kevin Wantroba backed DiCanio with 10 points and 5 assists for the Hawks.
Marian Central, which was 7 of 12 from 3-point range for 58 percent, was led by 15 points from Matthew Ricciuto. Adam Pischke added 12 points while Wyatt Lindell was 3 of 5 from beyond the arc for 9 points. Ben Schnepf joined Lindell with 9 points.