Clodi's clutch shot gives St. Charles East 7th straight win
St. Charles East's Zack Clodi missed out on the 3-point parade, but he made an unforgettable exit against Glenbard West on Saturday night.
In a game that featured a combined 21 3-pointers, Clodi buried a four-foot floater in the lane with 3.5 seconds left in regulation to lift the Saints to a 72-71 victory over the Hilltoppers in St. Charles.
The senior guard took advantage of an open seam in Glenbard West's half-court defense, beating his defender off the dribble and knocking in the floater to extend the Saints' winning streak to seven games, with their 10th win in their last 11 games.
"Coming down, (the defender) picked me up and Sean Sullivan went to the corner and (his defender) left and I saw a wide open lane and took it," Clodi said. "Right when I saw it, I knew I had to drive. The lane was wide open. I was reading the play, trying to get the open look and took my shot."
The Saints (16-6) made eight 3-pointers, led by Joseph Musial's 17 points and two 3-pointers. Sean Sullivan added 14 points and two 3s and Andrew Risberg hit three 3s for 9 points.
Clodi, a 6-foot senior, said it was the first winning basket of his career. Clodi saved his best play for the fourth quarter to cap off a stunning comeback, shooting 4-for-8 from the field and scoring 6 points in the final quarter.
"I can't believe it," Clodi said of his winning shot. "It was a good and fun game. It was definitely a shootout."
The nonconference game featured numerous runs by both teams, plus a number of comebacks from deficits. St. Charles East coach Patrick Woods praised his team for not giving up despite falling behind 58-50 late in the third quarter.
"I loved the way we believed the whole time," Woods said. "I never felt fear in them or doubt. They believed in what we do, and relentlessly pursued it. I thought our effort and energy was great. It was a heck of a shot by Zack. We missed some easy bunnies, so the layup gods were looking at it. Zack took what the defense gave him and made a great finish."
The Hilltoppers (14-6) nearly ran away with the victory by hitting six of their 13 3-pointers to put on a shooting show in the first quarter. Diallo Phillips made four of his six 3-point attempts to finish with a game-high 22 points. Braden Huff shot 5-for-6 on 3s to end with 20 points and Paxton Warden added 20 points and two 3s. The Hilltoppers, though, missed their last six free throws to set up Clodi's heroics.
"We shot it well early but give credit to them with all their substituting because we kind of wore down at the end," Glenbard West coach Jason Opoka said. "We missed some shots late. We usually make those shots when we are unguarded. We're going to learn from this. They are a good team and they made a play at the end of the game."