Jacobs didn't get the shot it wanted in the end, but Fremd had a lot to with that.
Trailing by the eventual final score of 36-35 with 4.2 seconds left in Tuesday's Class 4A boys basketball supersectional at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Jacobs coach Jimmy Roberts wanted to get the ball in the hands of the man that brought Jacobs this far: 6-foot-9 senior Cam Krutwig.
However, Fremd 6-foot-4 forward Shaan Patel was instructed by coach Bob Widlowski to sag from the perimeter to help guard against a lob to Krutwig, which is what Jacobs indeed wanted to try.
"Coach told me to defend the lob on Krutwig and then get back to my guy and that's what I did," Patel said.
Patel's help defense forced Jacobs senior guard Cooper Schwartz to inbound the ball in front of his own bench to fellow senior Mason Materna on the 3-point line. Materna momentarily set a screen on Patel, but he hustled underneath it and got to Schwartz, who 24 seconds earlier made a 3-pointer to give Jacobs its last lead at 35-34.
However, a perimeter foul and 2 free throws by Fremd senior guard Luke Schoffstall forced the Golden Eagles to play from behind in the final seconds.
Schwartz's shot came up well short. Seeing an opportunity, Krutwig tried to tip the ball behind his head but the attempt did not go as time expired and Fremd (31-0) celebrated its first downstate trip since 1993 at midcourt.
"We tried to run a box set and get a lob to me, but they kind of sagged off so we got it right back to the inbounder," Krutwig said. "I mean, we got an all right look. It just came up short. I thought that tip was going in, but it didn't fall."
"We threw it where we didn't want to throw it," Roberts said.
However, the final play wasn't what cost Jacobs in the end. Turnovers did the trick. Namely, five miscues in the fourth quarter and another in overtime.
Asked if Fremd holding the ball for minutes at a time late in the game took Jacobs out of its rhythm, Roberts pointed elsewhere.
"I think our turnovers took us out of our offensive rhythm," he said "We had opportunities late in the fourth quarter. We had the ball up 2 two or three times and we turned it over. A 4-point lead in a game like that where it's in the thirties? Just possess the basketball and we didn't do that. That's what hurts. That's what hurts."
Thus, Roberts and staff were forced to say goodbye to a team to with which they became very close, particularly Roberts with Krutwig, whom Roberts elevated to the varsity when he took over as coach four seasons ago.
Like two co-workers of the past four years forced to say goodbye due to a sudden transfer, they answered postgame questions knowing it was their last act together as coach and player.
But it won't be the last act of their relationship.
"I told them I look forward to the next however-many-years I'm around because I'm going to have relationships with every one of them," Roberts said of a team that went 30-2, won the Fox Valley Conference and the first sectional in school history. "Maybe Cam more so than anyone else because we've been around each other for four years. It's the most I've ever coached a kid. We've had a lot of good kids come through here and I have some really, really good relationships with some special kids, but Cam's a really special one to me."