It was a tough night at the free-throw line for Carmel freshman point guard Kimahri Wilson. But he had what it took when it counted.
With 2.7 seconds left in his team's Saturday nonconference match with Montini and the game tied 65-65, Wilson drove the lane, got off a shot and was fouled.
Up to that point Wilson had been 3 for 11 from the line. His first free throw bounced off the back of the rim, eliciting an ooh from the crowd.
But the next one was true, touching nothing but net, and it handed the Corsairs a hard-fought 66-65 victory.
"We can't lose -- that's what was going through my mind," said Wilson, who finished with 15 points despite going 4 for 13 from the line. "I had to make the second one. No doubt in my mind I was making the second one."
While Wilson's game-winning free throw was crucial, the drama wasn't over. After a pair of Montini timeouts that led to a midcourt inbound, the ball ended up in the hands of senior guard Matthew Morrissey on the left 3-point arc. He took an off-balance shot that rimmed out, preserving the Carmel win.
But when it was over, a relieved Carmel coach Zack Ryan couldn't have been more pleased with Wilson.
"He's a freshman, so he's going to have freshman moments," Carmel coach Zack Ryan said, referring to Wilson's overall performance from the free-throw line. "But then he still has the toughness to come up and knock down the free throw to win the game. He's going to be good."
It was a long road back for the Corsairs (5-1), who shot a dismal 26 percent in the first half. Meanwhile, the Broncos used an 8-1 second-quarter run and a 9-0 third-quarter spurt to take a 49-39 lead with 1:38 left in the third.
It was then that Carmel erupted. A 14-0 run through the 6:23 mark of the fourth quarter, with 7 points courtesy of junior guard Johnny Roeser, gave the Corsairs a 53-49 lead.
Later in the quarter, Morrissey's five free throws keyed a 7-2 Montini run, and in fact, the Broncos seized a 65-64 lead with 2:02 to go. Roeser made one of two free throws at 1:45 to tie the game, setting up Wilson's heroics.
"At the time my thoughts were, he was going to miss one," Montini coach Daryl Thomas said of Wilson's free throws. "I knew he was going to make one. It's just the luck of the draw for us. That's how teams have been against us. They find ways to do those things at the end."
Morrissey was stellar for the Broncos (4-2) with a double-double, 23 points and 12 rebounds, 4 offensive. He was a big reason Montini shot 43 percent from the floor.
"Everyone knows their role on the team," Morrissey said. "We have guards, if they come off a roll and they see that they are helping, they know to kick it back out and I'll knock it down. And the rebounds, I always attack the rim."
Roeser led Carmel with 18 points, while junior guard Evan Myers added 11.