The shot of a lifetime eliminated Glenbard South from the boys state basketball tournament.
Blaine Borhart's 3-point shot from the left corner with 5.8 seconds to play lifted No. 2 seed Marengo to a 50-49 win over the No. 4 Raiders in Wednesday's Class 3A Genoa-Kingston sectional semifinal. Marengo advances to Friday's sectional final against Sycamore, which won its own 1-point nailbiter over Belvidere on Tuesday.
"That's the biggest play I've ever been a part of, and it's amazing," said Borhart, a junior guard. "I've always dreamed of hitting a shot like that to advance my team in the playoffs and keep going and keep playing with these guys, because I love these guys."
Glenbard South (14-15) led 49-47 with 24.2 seconds left on a free throw by Charlie Bair, who scored 16 points with 15 rebounds and 2 blocks. Marengo coach Nate Wright called time out to devise a play for the Indians (24-7). One figured it might have something to do with senior guard Mike Volkening, who led all scorers with 24 points.
"I was assuming that they were going to double off somebody on a ballscreen on Mike, and so when they did that I thought who's our next-best shooter to come off that ballscreen, and it was Blaine," Wright said.
He assumed correctly.
"The kid stepped up and hit a big shot," said Glenbard South coach Wade Hardtke. "You've got to tip your hat to him. We got a little confused, we were supposed to be switching everything and we left a guy open and they found him. And he knocked down a big shot."
Glenbard South couldn't convert a contested, running 3-point shot before the final buzzer.
It was something of a tale of two halves. Glenbard South made 14 first-half field goals paced by seniors Bair and Peter Jeske, who scored a team-high 17 points. The Raiders outrebounded Marengo 19-8 in those first 16 minutes with 12 offensive rebounds, posting leads of 14-9 after one quarter and 29-23 at halftime.
Marengo then dedicated itself to a 2-1-2 zone defense that allowed just 5 second-half field goals.
"We were getting some easy buckets against their man and I think once they went zone they kind of slowed us up a little bit. We were still able to get buckets but just not to the pace that we were getting them against their man," said Bair, Glenbard South's all-time leading rebounder headed to Illinois Wesleyan.
"Three-year career on varsity. It's a good way to end it, but I didn't want it to end yet."
No one ever does.
"That's a hardworking group," Hardtke said. "I think to be honest with you they overachieved and we got everything out of them and then some. They're a fun bunch to coach, they were a close bunch, not necessarily the most talented group around but they worked hard and they got after it on the defensive end."