Miller's last-second shot sends St. Francis past Burlington Central

  • Sean Killian, left, and Kevin Hanson from St. Francis jump for joy following an IHSA Class 3A Sectional final win Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. The Spartans advanced to Supersectional play with a 37-35 victory over the Burlington Central Rockets.

    Sean Killian, left, and Kevin Hanson from St. Francis jump for joy following an IHSA Class 3A Sectional final win Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. The Spartans advanced to Supersectional play with a 37-35 victory over the Burlington Central Rockets. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Adam Wiborg from St. Francis hoists the hardware  after an IHSA Class 3A Sectional final win Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. The Spartans advanced to Supersectional play with a 37-35 victory over the Burlington Central Rockets.

    Adam Wiborg from St. Francis hoists the hardware after an IHSA Class 3A Sectional final win Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. The Spartans advanced to Supersectional play with a 37-35 victory over the Burlington Central Rockets. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Adam Wiborg from St. Francis hugs the hardware  after an IHSA Class 3A Sectional final win Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. The Spartans advanced to Supersectional play with a 37-35 victory over the Burlington Central Rockets.

    Adam Wiborg from St. Francis hugs the hardware after an IHSA Class 3A Sectional final win Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. The Spartans advanced to Supersectional play with a 37-35 victory over the Burlington Central Rockets. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Players from St. Francis celebrate following an IHSA Class 3A Sectional final win Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. The Spartans advanced to Supersectional play with a 37-35 victory over the Burlington Central Rockets.

    Players from St. Francis celebrate following an IHSA Class 3A Sectional final win Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. The Spartans advanced to Supersectional play with a 37-35 victory over the Burlington Central Rockets. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Players, coaches, and fans from St. Francis celebrate following an IHSA Class 3A Sectional final win Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. The Spartans advanced to Supersectional play with a 37-35 victory over the Burlington Central Rockets.

    Players, coaches, and fans from St. Francis celebrate following an IHSA Class 3A Sectional final win Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. The Spartans advanced to Supersectional play with a 37-35 victory over the Burlington Central Rockets. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Players from St. Francis celebrate following an IHSA Class 3A Sectional final win Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. The Spartans advanced to Supersectional play with a 37-35 victory over the Burlington Central Rockets.

    Players from St. Francis celebrate following an IHSA Class 3A Sectional final win Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. The Spartans advanced to Supersectional play with a 37-35 victory over the Burlington Central Rockets. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Players react as time runs out on a 37-35 St. Francis Spartan win over the Burlington Central Rockets during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School.

    Players react as time runs out on a 37-35 St. Francis Spartan win over the Burlington Central Rockets during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • St. Francis' Sebastian Miller hits the game-winning shot for a 37-35 win over Burlington Central during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School.

    St. Francis' Sebastian Miller hits the game-winning shot for a 37-35 win over Burlington Central during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • St. Francis'  Brandan Yarusso, right, takes an outside shot as Burlington Central's Gavin Sarvis closes in during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School.

    St. Francis' Brandan Yarusso, right, takes an outside shot as Burlington Central's Gavin Sarvis closes in during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • St. Francis'  Sean Killian tries to get past Burlington Central's Nick Carpenter, right, during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School.

    St. Francis' Sean Killian tries to get past Burlington Central's Nick Carpenter, right, during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Burlington Central's Andrew Scharnowski moves the ball again st St. Francis during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School.

    Burlington Central's Andrew Scharnowski moves the ball again st St. Francis during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • St. Francis'  Sebastian Miller takes a shot as Burlington Central's Nick Carpenter defends during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School.

    St. Francis' Sebastian Miller takes a shot as Burlington Central's Nick Carpenter defends during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Burlington Central's Andrew Scharnowski, left, follows the ball as teammate Andrew Carpenter, right, pressures St. Francis' Nikolas Rowlan, center, during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School.

    Burlington Central's Andrew Scharnowski, left, follows the ball as teammate Andrew Carpenter, right, pressures St. Francis' Nikolas Rowlan, center, during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Burlington Central's Andrew Scharnowski, right, follows the ball as St. Francis' Nikolas Rowlan, center, dishes out of traffic during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School.

    Burlington Central's Andrew Scharnowski, right, follows the ball as St. Francis' Nikolas Rowlan, center, dishes out of traffic during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Burlington Central's Carson Seyller looks for a rebound against St. Francis during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School.

    Burlington Central's Carson Seyller looks for a rebound against St. Francis during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Burlington Central's Gavin Sarvis muscles his way to the hoop against St. Francis during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School.

    Burlington Central's Gavin Sarvis muscles his way to the hoop against St. Francis during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Burlington Central's Nick Carpenter corrals the ball against St. Francis during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School.

    Burlington Central's Nick Carpenter corrals the ball against St. Francis during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • St. Francis'  Adam Wiborg takes a shot as Burlington Central's Nick Carpenter defends during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School.

    St. Francis' Adam Wiborg takes a shot as Burlington Central's Nick Carpenter defends during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • St. Francis'  Sean Killian, left, guards Burlington Central's Andrew Scharnowski during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School.

    St. Francis' Sean Killian, left, guards Burlington Central's Andrew Scharnowski during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Burlington Central's head coach Brett Porto and the Rockets react late in the game during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night against St. Francis at Crystal Lake South High School.

    Burlington Central's head coach Brett Porto and the Rockets react late in the game during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night against St. Francis at Crystal Lake South High School. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • St. Francis'  Sebastian Miller and  Burlington Central's Carson Seyller battle during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School.

    St. Francis' Sebastian Miller and Burlington Central's Carson Seyller battle during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Burlington Central coach Brett Porto reacts late in the game during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School.

    Burlington Central coach Brett Porto reacts late in the game during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • St. Francis'  Sebastian Miller, right, closes in on Burlington Central's Gavin Sarvis during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School.

    St. Francis' Sebastian Miller, right, closes in on Burlington Central's Gavin Sarvis during IHSA Class 3A Sectional final action Friday night at Crystal Lake South High School. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

 
 
Updated 3/4/2022 10:28 PM

St. Francis' Sebastian Miller has been making plays for the Spartans for a long time, but the 6-foot-3 senior guard never made one bigger than this.

It appeared St. Francis would hold for a late shot with the score tied against Burlington Central, but Miller drove hard into the lane, pulled up and hit a 9-footer with 14 seconds remaining.

 

The Rockets had two more shots to tie or win, but did not convert on either and saw their best season in school history come to an end, 37-35, at the Class 3A Crystal Lake South sectional championship Friday night.

The last time there was postseason basketball, in 2020, St. Francis also eliminated Burlington Central by scoring the final seven points in a 60-59 regional championship game.

"It was a war, a defensive battle," Spartans coach Erin Dwyer said. "Both teams played with a lot of passion, we just made one more play. Honestly, we made one more shot than they did. The result on both sides was amazing."

Burlington coach Brett Porto echoed that sentiment as the Rockets fell short of becoming the first sectional champions in school history.

"(Miller) just made a nice move, got down in the middle of the lane and hit a pullup, simple as that," said Porto, whose team finished 31-4. "They just made one more play than us tonight."

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St. Francis (27-8) moves on to Monday's 7 p.m. Ottawa supersectional against Metamora, a 68-64 winner over Rock Island in the Bradley University sectional on Friday. It will be the Spartans' first supersectional appearance since 2013.

Burlington's Gavin Sarvis tied the score on a driving basket with 42 seconds remaining, 35-35. Sarvis missed the and-one free throw after his basket, Miller rebounded and the Spartans called timeout.

Miller scored all of St. Francis' nine points in the fourth quarter.

"We were just trying to get the best shot available," Miller said. "We knew they were switching. I had a lot of energy and had some foul trouble coming into the fourth quarter and knew I just needed to make big plays down the stretch. I had a lot of energy being on the bench that long."

Miller drove right around Sarvis and pulled up without committing a charge to make the shot.

"We were hoping for one shot," Dwyer said. "I literally turned around and all of a sudden I see him flying in for a layup and I'm like, 'OK, I guess that worked too.'"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Burlington called timeout with 11 seconds to go and inbounded the ball to Sarvis, its best scorer.

"I get the ball, coach said 'It's in your hands, do what you want with it,'" Sarvis said. "I got into the lane and didn't know what to do so I kicked it out."

Drew Scharnowski had an open look at a 3 from the top of the key, but missed. St. Francis called timeout again and inbounded the ball deep, which the Rockets' Carson Seyller intercepted and passed to Sarvis just past half-court. His last-second 3 was not close.

The defensive struggles were evident in the score and the statistics. St. Francis committed 20 turnovers; Burlington shot 33.3% (12 of 36) from the field. The Spartans also had a huge rebounding advantage, 31-13.

"They sagged off of us a lot and made us shoot and we didn't shoot well tonight," Sarvis said.

Miller led all players with 13 points. Sean Killian and Adam Wiborg each added eight for the Spartans. Sarvis topped the Rockets with 11 points, Seyller tossed in eight.

Burlington trailed 34-31 with 1:10 remaining, but scored on an inbound alley-oop lob to Sarvis to make it 34-33. After one Miller free throw in the other end, Sarvis dashed downcourt for the layup to tie.

"They were big and strong and physical and push you off spots all over the place," Porto said. "It's kind of what we thought they would be. Credit to our guys for battling back. Gavin pulled up and kicked it out and we had a chance to win it."

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