IC Catholic's Jordan perfect in the clutch
Fouled on a 3-point attempt as time expired with his IC Catholic Prep boys basketball team down 2, the scenario facing Zach Jordan was simple.
Three for the win, two for overtime and anything less, heartbreak.
Turns out, there was never a doubt.
Standing at the free-throw line by himself, Jordan calmly swished all three attempts, sending the Knights to a thrilling 60-59 Metro Suburban Blue victory Friday over Riverside-Brookfield in Elmhurst.
"The first one, I was thanking the Lord I hit it," said Jordan, who finished with 15 points. "That calmed me down a bit. The second one, I thought I missed it but it went in. The third one, I was calm and felt I was going to hit it no matter what.
"Our coach has us practice free throws twice every practice. I shoot 50 to 80 every practice. So I wasn't that nervous, though I was shaking a little bit, I'm not going to lie. I haven't been in that position before, it was kind of fun."
A big reason why Jordan had a chance for his heroics was the play of teammate Chauncey Lee, who helped bring the home team back from a 34-27 halftime deficit. Lee poured in 11 points during the third quarter, including a stretch of eight straight, as the Knights forged a 46-46 tie heading into the final eight minutes.
Lee topped all scorers with 25 points.
"I just love to compete," said Lee, also a valuable member of the football team. "It's a dream come true to come out here every day, I love to play sports.
"Last year our team was kind of young, a lot of sophomores and juniors. Now that we have matured, I feel like our relationships on the court have grown."
Coming off a narrow loss earlier in the week to another strong opponent in Fenwick, ICCP improved to 8-2, 1-1.
"That was an awesome win," ICCP coach T.J. Tyrrell said, "and a great comeback. Zach knocking down three clutch free throws with nobody out there, that's the stuff you dream about as a young kid, hitting the game-winner. We needed all three of them and he delivered. And Chauncey was outstanding."
The Bulldogs (5-4, 1-2) were led by the 20 points of Paul Zilinskas, who hit what appeared to be the game-winning basket with just over five seconds left. The senior drilled a trio of 3-pointers in the opening quarter as the visitors jumped out to a 17-11 lead.
Jack Stivers added 15 points and 7 rebounds off the bench, and Jamir Truman contributed 8 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.