The back door was open, and Wheaton Warrenville South's boys basketball team ran through it for the Tigers' first regional title since 2005.
Junior Jake Healy scored with 1.8 seconds left to beat Hinsdale Central 30-28 Friday at the Class 4A West Chicago regional final.
"I took a few steps (away from the basket), and I really didn't think it would work," Healy said after his sole basket. "But they fell for it so I went back door. I mean, I knew I couldn't miss that layup."
Capping a 10-0 run over the last 3:43, with 2.6 seconds on the clock the Tigers' Chase Stebbins prepared to inbound the ball just inside of midcourt near the scorers' table.
Healy took a couple steps into the backcourt as Stebbins gave a head fake in the same direction. Healy dashed back into the frontcourt to catch Stebbins' perfect two-handed lob near the free-throw line. A step ahead of his defender, Healy dribbled once and converted a left-handed layup.
"It was wide open," said Stebbins, a junior guard. "I just threw the pass and Jake did the rest and the game turned out our way."
"Those guys have been running that since they've been in sixth or seventh grade, all of them," said Tigers coach Mike Healy, "so we thought maybe they'd be so attentive to Dillon (Durrett) that maybe we'd get somebody to kind of fall asleep.
"We told Chase if it doesn't happen we had more timeouts, call time out, we'd go to our next look. And Jakey really kind of sold it, didn't go too early and Chase made a great pass."
The clock showed 0.0 but 1.8 seconds were restored. No. 9 seed Hinsdale Central (16-12) got a tough 3-point shot that fell short.
WW South (29-1) moves to Tuesday's Class 4A Hinsdale Central sectional semifinal against No. 4 Naperville North, which beat Addison Trail 71-51. WW South is 2-0 this season against its DuPage Valley Conference rival with a combined margin of 4 points.
Trevor Hamilton's basket from the low left wing gave Hinsdale Central a 28-20 lead with 3:43 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Red Devils then committed five straight turnovers including two Stebbins steals, one by Drew Healy.
The Tigers pulled to 28-28 on a Drew Healy 3, Durrett's three-point play and two Durrett free throws with 38.9 seconds left in the game.
"My mind was blank at the free-throw line," said Durrett, high scorer with 13 points.
Hinsdale Central matched WW South's discipline on offense and defense, allowing the Tigers one 3-pointer in nine attempts through three quarters. The Red Devils penetrated WW South's 1-2-2 ball press with high-low looks between Hamilton and Tomas Misiunas, who led Hinsdale Central with 10 points.
"They practiced hard every day, fantastic attitudes, just great kids, just really tremendous individuals," said Red Devils coach Nick Latorre.
"(Both teams) definitely mirrored each other in commitment to each other and commitment to what both of their coaches were trying to accomplish. It's a shame someone had to lose. Even more of a shame that it was us."