At some point in the North Suburban Conference boys basketball contest between Warren and host Zion-Benton, Zee-Bees senior DaMarquis Henry was going to find his shooting touch.
After being held in check by the feisty Warren defense for the better part of three quarters, Henry finally found his touch -- and at absolutely the wrong time for the Blue Devils Friday night.
With his team trailing 58-55 and just 8.2 seconds remaining, Henry took the inbounds pass, bobbled it once, then twice, but still recovered to fire up an off-balance 3-pointer to tie the contest at 58-58 and force overtime.
Once in the extra session, Henry scored 9 of his team's 13 points to lift Zion to a thrilling 71-67 win over the Blue Devils. Henry scored all but two of his team-best 23 points in the second half and overtime with 19 coming in the fourth quarter and the extra session.
"I just didn't knock down the shots that I normally knock down," said Henry of his slow start. "I just had my teammates staying positive in me that my shots would eventually start to fall."
Zion-Benton (19-9, 9-4) needed every one of Henry's points to offset the performance of Warren junior Brandon Ellis. Ellis, who survived a scare when he sprained his ankle near the end of the first half, also heated up in the second half.
Ellis scored 12 of his game-high 27 points in the second half and it was his 3-pointer from longtime teammate Barak Diehl that gave Warren its last lead in regulation at 58-55 with 41.7 seconds left.
"With my ankle being sore I wasn't looking to drive down the middle as much because it hurt to run," Ellis said. "In warmups in the second half I didn't miss a shot then I hit a couple and just got going from there."
Diehl had his number called Friday night to fill in for a banged up Warren roster. Senior Juwan Perry missed the contest after a collision with Skyler Kooyenga in practice landed Kooyenga with a concussion and Perry with stitches. Junior Ian Schilling was also sidelined with an illness propelling Diehl into the starting lineup where he took full advantage.
"I really wanted to prove myself tonight and feel like I should be playing but I need to continue to keep proving myself," said Diehl, who contributed on both ends of the floor with 11 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and a pair of blocked shots.
Warren (12-13, 5-8) dug itself a hole a few minutes into the fourth quarter as Zion built its biggest lead of the night at 46-38 with 5:36 to go. But the Blue Devils responded with Diehl, Ellis and senior Jayson Dorsey leading the way.
A steal by Dorsey, who contributed 13 points on the night, led to a Diehl bucket to cut the margin to a point. Then a perfectly placed skip pass found Ellis for a long 3-pointer and Warren's 10-0 run gave the Devils the lead back at 48-46 with 3:58 to go.
"We can't question or fault our effort tonight because everyone out there stepped up and played really hard for us," said Warren coach Jon Jasnoch. "With guys being hurt it was a next man up for us tonight and guys like Barak, who has played so hard for us, tonight stepped up. I had every confidence in him that he would step in and play well. That's something that will help us come tournament time."
Zion put together a balanced scoring attack behind Henry. Junior Cortez Sawyer added 16 points while Rod Henry-Hayes (14 points) and Jalen Ray (10) also hit double figures.