Bartlett's Ben Fisher made just one basket from the field all game on Wednesday night, but it sure came in spectacular fashion.
With 44 seconds left to play Tomas Vikonis had just pulled the Hawks to within 37-36 against visiting Batavia with a floater in the lane. Then on Batavia's inbound pass Fisher came flying out of nowhere to steal the ball in the near corner. As his momentum looked to carry him out of bounds he leapt and made a mid air pass back out to teammate Ben Tompson at the top of the key. Without hesitation Fisher quickly gathered himself and cut under the basket where Tompson passed him the ball for a go-ahead layup.
The Hawks (15-12) would go on to make a huge defensive stop on the other end and add 4 clutch free three throws, 2 each by Fisher and Austin Gates, down the stretch to close out a stunning 42-37 win over the Bulldogs in Class 4A regional semifinal action. Bartlett advances to play Wheaton Warrenville South for the regional title on Friday.
"Sweet baby Jesus I love this team," a jubilant Fisher said. "I had struggled all night, but none of that mattered. I just knew we had to find a way to win and I was going to do anything I could to help make it happen. What got us the win was we played with more grit and determination than we have all year. We were diving on the floor, making the extra play, whatever it took."
Bartlett fell behind 37-34 with 57 seconds left to play, but scored the final 8 points.
"I loved the grit and determination we showed," Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith said. "We held our composure even when we fell behind. We came out of timeout and didn't panic and got an open look in the lane for a bucket, Then Fisher made a great defensive play and still had the presence of mind to go the rim to get a layup."
Baskets were hard to come by all night for both teams. The Hawks shot just 13 of 41 (32 percent) from the field. Batavia was just 11 of 36 for 30 percent, including 3 of 12 from beyond the 3-point arc.
"We wanted to drive them off the 3-point stripe and extend their possessions," Wolfsmith said. "Both teams were playing tight on offense, but I thought the kids did an excellent job of executing the game plan on defense."
The Hawks had led by as many as 10 points 16-6 early on, but Batavia rallied to take the lead in the second half.
Gates and Vikonis each had 11 points to lead the Hawks in scoring.
Kyle LeFevre had a team-high 17 points for Batavia (21-9), including all 12 of the team's points in the fourth quarter.
"It was just one of those nights when the shots weren't falling," Batavia coach Jim Nazos said. "You'd think holding a team to 42 points would be enough to get it done, but give Bartlett credit -- they really played us tough. I feel sorry for our kids right now. They have really worked hard, We had the most wins we've had since 2006. At some point we'll be able to look back and feel good about what we did accomplished this year, but right now it's tough."