Loyola men's basketball coach and former Benet star Porter Moser scouted at Glenbard South on Tuesday. That spared UIC assistant and ex-Downers Grove South star Brendan Mullins the inconvenience of vying with his brother, Loyola assistant Bryan Mullins, for West Chicago senior Tai Bibbs' attention.
Stanford, Drexel, Elon and Fordham coaches also got what they sought -- Bibbs with the ball and the game in the balance.
Fouled on a 3-point try near the left sideline as time expired, with zeros on the clock the 6-foot-3 guard calmly drilled his 13th free throw in 14 attempts to give the Wildcats a 58-57 nonconference victory.
"I shot it like I normally do, try to get some contact. Got fouled and then just hoped to make the free throws. It would have been cool to go to overtime, but I'm happy with the win either way," said Bibbs, who led all players with 28 points.
"I was happy to be there at the end of the game. That's what, like, every player wishes for, to have a chance to win a game."
Losing in such fashion is hard to swallow. So was Glenbard South (10-9) losing two 8-point fourth-quarter leads while going 5 of 10 from the foul line.
"The kids played their hearts out," said Raiders coach Wade Hardtke. "It's a shame it had to end the way that it ended. You know, (if) we hit a couple free throws down the stretch it certainly helps us out. A costly turnover, and then we took the game out of our hands there and put it in their hands."
West Chicago (14-5) rallied from 50-42 and 54-48 deficits but crept within 56-55 on Jason Gimre's long 3 with 1:29 to play. Thirty seconds later Kevin Enright's free throw gave the Raiders a 57-55 lead. West Chicago's Luke Seeman tied it on two free throws with 50.3 left.
On defense West Chicago forward Devonte Pascal swatted the ball and pounced on it, gaining possession with 26 seconds remaining to set up the final sequence.
"He's a captain for a reason," Wildcats coach Bill Recchia said, "and he does the little things that don't really show up on the scoreboard but it shows up in the results that we have, and he's a reason where we're at this year."
Tied 19-19 after one quarter and 30-30 at halftime, there were 13 lead changes and seven ties. Gimre scored 15 while Glenbard South landed four in double figures -- Brandon Whiteside with 18 points, Billy Powers with 11, Peter Jeske with 10 points and 9 rebounds and center Charlie Bair with 15 points, 12 boards.
"That last call, yeah, might not have been a foul, but you can't blame it on the last call," said Bair, himself deciding between Illinois Wesleyan and the University of Chicago. "We didn't score for awhile there, so that kind of cost us the game."