Kaneland loses in final seconds
Kameron Williams expected to share the perspective of every other person in the Kaneland gym in the final seconds Friday -- watching Plano teammate Mason Accidentale take the last shot.
"I was kind of ready for Mason to take that last shot, to crash the boards," said Williams, a Plano junior. "I'm kind of glad he got it to me."
Indeed, Williams went from spectator to hero.
On Plano's last possession Accidentale took it length of the court, drove the left side of the lane and sucked in Kaneland's defenders. Then he kicked it out to an open Williams at the top of the key, who drilled a 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left to give Plano a thrilling 63-60 win -- and in the process snap a six-game Reapers' losing streak.
"I just try to do the best I can for my team. If I have an open shot, I'm going to take it," said Williams, who also hit a three in the final seconds of the first half.
Accidentale, a junior guard, scored a game-high 23 points despite foul trouble throughout. After Jamari Meeks' corner 3-pointer with 58 seconds left gave Kaneland a 58-57 lead, Accidentale answered with a weaving drive that he turned into a three-point play. Plano, though, missed two front ends of one-and-one free throws in the final minute, and Meeks made two free throws with 9.6 seconds left to tie it 60-60.
Accidentale, on the last possession, was cognizant of not picking up a fifth foul -- and confident in his teammate.'
"I saw a kid just waiting to take a charge and I couldn't do that with four fouls so I just turned around and saw Kam cutting over," Accidentale said.
A relieved Plano coach Kyle Kee will take it. His Reapers lost in overtime to Kaneland in the teams' first meeting, the first game in Plano's six-game slide. Tristan Canfield added 13 points for Plano (3-8, 2-6 Interstate Eight), seven in the second quarter while Accidentale was sitting with two fouls to stake the Reapers to a 28-21 halftime lead.
"We've been making strides, it just hasn't shown up in the win/loss category," Kee said.
Meeks scored 10 points, Porter Conroy nine and freshman Troyer Carlson nine for Kaneland (3-4, 3-4), which has grown quite accustomed to close calls like this one. Five of the Knights' games have been decided by three points or fewer.
"Seven games, I think we've been in overtime in three of them, and every game has been [seven] points or less," Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe said. "It's a lot of things. There's some things we can do better, but it's chaotic. We're game/practice, game/practice, game/practice. You're trying to fix stuff on the fly. I thought we played well in stretches but turnovers hurt us."
Five Kaneland players scored in the first quarter, and the Knights led 16-7 two minutes into second after Meeks' follow shot. But two Canfield drives, one he converted into a three-point play, started a 12-0 run while Kaneland turned it over seven times in the second quarter.
"That second quarter, we missed some shots, but it was turnovers that hurt us," Colombe said. "They scored 21 points and most of it was off live-ball turnovers."
Accidentale, who made four 3-pointers, scored eight of his 23 in the third quarter, a three giving Plano its biggest lead, 40-30 with 3:25 left. But he picked up his fourth foul the next minute, and Carlson's corner 3-pointer as time expired in the third quarter closed Kaneland within 44-41.