2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 1/27/2018 12:24 AM

Dougherty's last-second 3-pointer lifts Naperville Central past Neuqua Valley

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  • Naperville Central's Cameron Dougherty, left, is mobbed by teammates and head coach Pete Kramer after hitting a walkoff game winning three-point shot, during a 52-49 win over Neuqua Valley.

      Naperville Central's Cameron Dougherty, left, is mobbed by teammates and head coach Pete Kramer after hitting a walkoff game winning three-point shot, during a 52-49 win over Neuqua Valley.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
By Phil Brozynski
Daily Herald Correspondent

The official scorekeeper at Neuqua Valley never entered Naperville Central sophomore Cameron Dougherty's final basket in the book.

Maybe she was in shock. She wasn't alone.

With time running out and the game tied at 49-49, the 6-foot-6 sophomore launched a high arching shot from deep in the corner over the outstretched hands of a Neuqua Valley defender. Even Naperville Central coach Pete Kramer thought it had no chance.

"It was so high, I thought it was short," Kramer said. "After he released I thought, 'It's short.' Then … nothing but net. I don't think the net even moved."

Dougherty's 3-pointer at the buzzer allowed Naperville Central to escape Neuqua Valley with a 52-49 victory and kept the Redhawks' bid for a DuPage Valley Conference boys basketball title alive.

"It's really hard to get a win on the road in the DVC," Dougherty said. "They practice here every day. It was one of those games you look at the score and you're up 10 points. You look again and it's a tie game. It seemed like it wasn't that close until it was tied."

Trailing 41-31 late in the third quarter and 49-44 with 56.5 seconds remaining in regulation, Neuqua Valley (7-15, 3-7) tied the game on a 3-pointer by Noah Herdman and a bucket off an inbounds play by Jonathan Tan following a Naperville Central turnover with a little more than 18 seconds remaining.

That was plenty of time for Dougherty and the Redhawks.

The Naperville Central bench and head basketball coach Pete Kramer, right, watch Cameron Dougherty hit a walkoff three-point shot to beat Neuqua Valley, during boys basketball action in Naperville.
  The Naperville Central bench and head basketball coach Pete Kramer, right, watch Cameron Dougherty hit a walkoff three-point shot to beat Neuqua Valley, during boys basketball action in Naperville. - Daniel White | Staff Photographer

"We were running our isolation set with a shooter in the corner," he said. "When we run that, (the Wildcats) stunt help out from the corner. So (Daniel Raab) shifted up, I got the ball to him and they doubled him. He made a great pass. Lucky I made it."

After Raab's 3-pointer gave Naperville Central a 27-22 lead at halftime, the Redhawks extended the lead to as many as 10 points three times in the third quarter and still led 46-37 with 6:34 remaining in the game.

But a three-point play by Tan and a rebound basket by 6-5 center Dubem Ogbuefi were part of a 7-0 run that got the Wildcats within 46-44.

"We had some fight in us tonight," Neuqua Valley coach Todd Sutton said. "That's a good sign. We haven't had that all year. Tonight was the best game we played this year. That's why I'm not heartbroken. There's a lot of good to come out of this."

Herdman led Neuqua Valley with 19 points including three 3-pointers. Tan added 11 points and 5-10 senior guard Ryan Lake came off the bench to add a pair of 3-pointers.

"Herdman has been on a little bit of a roller coaster," Sutton said. "He had a real good game on Tuesday, so that's back-to-back really good games. When he's feeling it, he can really shoot the ball."

Dougherty paced Naperville Central (17-5, 8-2) -- which lost point guard Tyler O'Brien to a knee injury 32 seconds into the game -- with 21 points. Raab added 11 points, but foul trouble and a sagging Neuqua Valley defense limited 6-foot-8 Ben Wolf to 5 points and 4 rebounds.

"I'm proud of our kids because we were without Tyler," Kramer said. "We haven't been without Tyler all year. He's our point guard, he's our leader, he's the floor general. He does so much for us."

The win kept Naperville Central in the thick of the DVC race.

"This was big," Dougherty said. "If we want to get our goal, we're going to have to sweep the back end half (of their conference schedule) to win the DVC. We have to take it one game at a time, but we have to win every one."

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