Timothy Christian's Chris Brooks did not hesitate, and perhaps because of that, the Trojans did not lose.
Inserted for defense with 29.3 seconds left in Tuesday's Metro Suburban Conference crossover basketball game against Wheaton Academy, the junior guard stole the ball, was fouled and swished two free throws with 15.4 seconds left for a 63-60 lead.
That thwarted a valiant comeback effort by the visiting Warriors, who still had a chance to tie. Wheaton Academy got the 3-point shot it wanted but it bounced off the far rim and Timothy Christian won 63-60 in Elmhurst.
"Honestly, I didn't think I was going to get it in time," Brooks said of the steal, "because I saw two people trying to come in (for the ball) and I was just going to go for it anyway, you know? It was all or nothing. Who knows what could have happened if that didn't happen?"
Who indeed. Trailing 52-37 at 1:52 of the third quarter, Wheaton Academy (13-6) assembled a 16-2 run, then tied the score 56-56 with 2:08 left in the fourth, the first tie since it was 2-2.
Led by Jayston Williams and Jack Dykema the Warriors made seven 3s in the final two quarters. Drawing a fifth foul on Timothy Christian center Brandon Orange, Williams made two free throws with 35.8 seconds left in the game to pull within 61-60 of Timothy Christian (14-4).
"We were doing side ball screens and when those were happening we could pop and we could slip them a little bit and we could drive baseline. And with all those actions we could get open 3s and try to knock them down. We could hit them the second half," said Dykema, who hit three 3s and scored 13 points. Williams made four 3s and tied Timothy's Matt Owens and Mike Thomas each with 18 points.
The host Trojans went up-tempo early, Orange's 13 rebounds serving a transition game that saw Timothy make 14 of 26 shots in a first half it led 32-22.
"Before the game Coach (Scott Plaisier) had prepared us, and he told us this team liked to run," said Owens, who also sank four 3-pointers. "Actually that's what we like to do. It depends on the team. This team likes to run, so we'll have a little track meet with them, he said."
Wheaton Academy also committed 8 first-quarter turnovers. It committed 7 the rest of the game to draw back into it.
"We need assists," said Warriors coach Steve Thonn. "I think the second half we probably had 11 or 12 assists."