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Kaneland's Drew David was 2-of-12 from the floor when he took Tyler Carlson's pass on the right wing, his toe on the 3-point line, two seconds from overtime.
David wasn't thinking of that. He summoned his big-game experience as a four-year starting point guard, three-year starting quarterback.
He rose and splashed the game-winning basket as the horn sounded, black-and-white-clad students cascading onto the court to celebrate the top-seeded Knights' 62-60 win over No. 3 Marmion at the Class 3A Kaneland regional final Friday in Maple Park.
"Thankfully one of my teammates found me and I was open. I had no choice but to shoot it, so it wasn't really that hard," said David, the net draped around his neck.
"I've played in a semifinal (football) game and a regional championship before so, I mean, it's definitely some really cool experiences that I've had. This is one of the best years that I've had just because being with all my teammates and stuff, being seniors. It's unbelievable, unbelievable."
The proverbial too-bad-someone-had-to-lose game, Marmion's Jordan Glasgow nearly created overtime when a rare pair of missed free throws with 26.1 seconds left -- Kaneland (18-9) went 19 of 23 from the line, Marmion 15 of 16 -- left the door open for the Cadets (16-15).
Cadets coach Ryan Paradise took time then Marmion (16-15) wound clock until Glasgow dribbled to the right baseline and canned a 10-foot jumper with 10.2 seconds left.
"We did everything we could, and hit a shot," Paradise said. "And when you've got a scramble situation like that and a kid who, really, we wouldn't mind shooting at that time, Drew -- he wasn't the guy who put up 30 on us, so we would have taken that.
"That's why Drew is a leader and he's on the team for four years. He hits that shot, you tip your cap and you walk off."
Leading to that shot, the basketball equivalent of a walk-off homer, the Knights hustled the ball downcourt. Carlson, who scored 30 points with 12-of-12 foul shooting, was harassed at the high post, pivoting, finding David.
"What was great about that at the end is Ty was unselfish, didn't freak out, saw Drew wide open, got him the ball and he knocked it down," said Knights coach Brian Johnson, his shaven head dripping with sweat. He had the other net around his neck, presented by Kaneland athletic director Ralph Drendel.
"At the beginning of the year we had some trouble getting down early and we always fought back. We never stopped and we always fought back," Carlson said once he bounded down from the home bleachers, shaking hands with adults and high-fiving kids as Knights fans applauded.
"It's just a true testament to how we're coached, just how we play. We played tough tonight, we came back and got the job done," he said.
Advancing to Tuesday's Hampshire sectional semifinal against Rockford Lutheran, a 71-67 winner over Belvidere in overtime, Kaneland needed to fight back, and quick.
Marmion got 7 of Danny Bicknell's 9 points (with 13 rebounds) in the first quarter to lead 14-4 before Kaneland's Connor Fedderly hit a 3 to stop the momentum. Carlson added another to cut Marmion's lead to 14-10 after a quarter. Then it was on.
"We'd played them before, we lost by 2 (49-47), 2 free throws in the end," said Marmion guard Michael Sheehan, who made three 3s. "So we didn't expect it to be an easy victory, didn't expect to go down big or anything, we knew it was going to be a battle."
A pair of buckets by Ryan David, Drew's sophomore brother, and later a sequence of four straight Carlson free throws and 2 by John Pruett due to two personal fouls plus a technical on Marmion, bolstered a 24-point Knights second quarter and 34-28 halftime lead.
Then came Marmion's turn, 15-point scorers Glasgow and Jake Esp outscoring the Knights 18-8 in the third.
"In a game like this," Paradise said, "I knew we would come back because our guys have responded all year and they're a tough bunch of kids, so I knew it was going to be a one-possession game. I was just hoping that we'd get enough stops down the stretch."
Marmion led 56-53 with 3:50 to play when Pruett converted a three-point play to tie.
Marmion's Tyler Maryanski made 2 free throws for a 58-56 lead with 1:53 remaining. On the other end Cole Carlson answered, rolling down the lane and converting a pass from the unrelated Tyler Carlson.
Drew David made 2 free throws with 42.3 seconds to play to give Kaneland a 60-58 lead and set the stage first for Glasgow's heroics, and then David's.
"I really admire what Marmion's done all season, how hard they fought," Johnson said. "I thought Ryan (Paradise) did a great job this year. I can't say enough about Marmion. My father (Bill) works there, so when we're not playing them I'm hoping they're doing a great job. It was just a great game."
And someone, unfortunately, had to lose.
"Gotta love that game," Sheehan said. "Everyone loves that game, except for the losing team. But what can you do?"