Malushi jumper lifts Waubonsie Valley past Batavia
Waubonsie Valley junior guard Adri Malushi didn't have much time for thinking.
Batavia guard Tyler Cooper just hit a go-ahead layup for the 1-point Batavia lead with 10 seconds left. Malushi simply took the inbound and sped coast-to-coast.
On the elbow with a hand in his face, Malushi sank a turnaround jumper with two seconds left to lift Waubonsie Valley to a 65-64 stunning victory in the Windmill City Classic championship on Saturday.
The Warriors also won the tournament title last season.
"When I looked up at the clock after (Cooper) made the layup, I saw 10 seconds," Malushi said after his 12-point, 2-rebound performance. "I knew there was no time for a pass or anything, so I took it on my own. I was lucky enough to make the shot with all the work."
Batavia (3-1) came back from a 58-48 deficit with 6:37 left in the game. Batavia senior forward Jayden Johnson hit a pair of free throws followed by Kyle Neibch's 3-pointer to close the deficit to 5. Johnson then hit a 3 off the Warriors' fifth turnover of the quarter before Warriors guard Isaiah Smith hit a pair of free throws to make it a 60-56 Warriors lead.
Cooper hit a jumper and Johnson's layup tied the game at 60 with 1:37 left. Warriors forward Marcus Skeete made the layup and was fouled but missed the free throw. Batavia guard Trent Tousana hit a layup to again tie the game at 62.
Malushi hit 1 of 2 free throws, setting the stage for the wild finish.
The Warriors were led by Skeete's 27 points, a season high for the 6-foot-5 senior. Justin Starks had 8 points and 2 rebounds and Smith had 10 points.
"This group of guys, they fight," Skeete said of his team's consecutive tournament championships. "Everybody on the team fights; we wanted this win. You saw the heart at that last shot Malushi made...we wanted this championship really (badly) and we fought for it."
Johnson, coming off performances of 21, 42 and 33 points earlier in the week, capped off his tournament MVP performance with 19 points and 3 rebounds. Johnson finished the Windmill Classic with 115 total points scored over four games, smashing the tournament record of 80 set by Batavia alum Corey Williams in 1990 over three games.
Johnson also holds the tournament accolade for most points in a single game, 42, a mark that was previously held by Aurora Christian's Matt Chionis' 34 points in 2002.
"This senior year, I've kind of just played off the philosophy of 'This is it,'" Johnson said. "It's now or go home so I just want to do whatever it takes, rally our guys, lead, and do whatever it takes to get the win."
Cooper and Neibch each finished with 14 points to pace Batavia. Tousana had 8 points. Neibch made the all-tournament team.
Waubonsie Valley (4-0) took a 28-17 lead with 5:03 remaining in the half on a pair of free throws from Caleb Brackett. Cooper and Neibch each responded with a 3-pointers to make it 28-23.
Cooper then hit a layup before Smith's dunk broke the scoreless drought for the Warriors. Luke Fehrenbacher hit 1 of 2 free throws before Johnson converted on a pair.
Batavia took the brief 31-30 lead on a deep 3-pointer from Johnson before it was snatched back on a pair of free throws by Smith to take the 32-31 Warriors lead into the half.