McGuire's buzzer-beater gives St. Edward win at Timothy
St. Edward guard J.P. McGuire admitted he'd been struggling with his shot. By 9 p.m. Saturday that was ancient history.
Out of a timeout with 18.8 seconds left in a tie game at Timothy Christian the Green Wave worked the basketball around the perimeter. Nearing the final buzzer, David Hill got the ball at the top of the arc and spied McGuire at the left wing.
The junior delivered a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left to beat the Trojans 42-39 in a Metro Suburban Red contest in Elmhurst.
"We were looking for the slip to get it down low, get a nice, quick shot. I looked at David, David gave me the look, threw me the ball and I let it go," said McGuire, whose only other basket was a first-quarter putback.
"It's just that connection that we have," said Hill, who scored 8 points with 5 rebounds and 3 steals. "We always play really well together and it worked out in the end and he hit the shot. It was a great shot by J.P."
"I haven't been knocking down all my shots," McGuire said, "but it's a nice boost of confidence to hit that one. When I let that go I knew it was good."
St. Edward (7-5, 1-2) scored the last 5 points in a fourth quarter where both teams combined for 12. Timothy Christian (5-5, 1-2) came within 37-36 on Jack Baldridge's pullup jumper. After a Green Wave miss Trojans sophomore Josh Harris canned a go-ahead 3 with 4:50 remaining.
In the last couple minutes Timothy spread the floor looking for cutters to the basket. Instead, St. Edward's Giovanni Gonnella, who led the Green Wave with 14 points, poked the ball free and Daniel Parks threw it back to Gonnella for a tying layup with 1:37 to play.
Next time Timothy came downcourt Erik Hill, David's sophomore brother, stole the ball to set up the winning sequence.
"Of the five losses we have, we've lost four of them by 3 points," said Trojans coach Scott Plaisier. "And every one of them has come down to us having a chance to either go ahead or win the game outright on a last-second shot and we've turned it over all four of those games."
Throughout, the lead seesawed by quarter. St. Edward finished the first quarter on an 8-3 run to lead 16-10, then Timothy Christian led 26-22 at halftime. St. Edward entered the fourth up 35-34.
"It's most definitely a learning experience, but down the stretch I feel like we'd do way better," said Harris, who scored a team-high 12 points. "And when time comes along for tournaments and bigger games I think we'll do fine."
One team definitely felt fine.
"It was a fun game and I was just happy, because I was just getting on J.P., like get to the rim or get an outside shot and he hits a 3 to win the game," said St. Edward coach Andy Zielinski. "It's just the way it works. Basketball's a humbling game, but the kids are really up and I thought it was a really good effort."