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The plan was to play for overtime. But Lincoln-Way North senior Denton Wallace had another idea with two seconds remaining in Friday night’s SouthWest Suburban Red battle against visiting Stagg.
Stationed on the inbounds about three-quarters of the court away from the basket and the game tied at 63, Wallace called for inbounder Ryan Pellack to flip him the ball.
What happened next brought the house down.
Wallace took the pass and let go a long-range heave at the basket. It banked in as the buzzer sounded, causing the North student section to rush the court and a stunned group of Stagg players to watch in disbelief.
“Our sophomore year (Pellack) gave me the ball in almost the same situation,” Wallace said after the 66-63 victory. “I hit a game-winner that night, too.”
From three-quarter court?
“Not that far,” Wallace said, laughing. “But same situation.”
Wallace finished with six three pointers and a team-high 20 points. Tre Lewis added added 13 points, Daryle Morgan 12 points and eight rebounds, and Pelleck 11 points for the Phoenix (13-7, 5-2), which kept itself in the thick of the SouthWest Suburban Red race.
Sean Dwyer (18 points), Kevin White (12 points) and Max Strus (12 points) paced Stagg (14-5, 4-3).
Wallace wasn’t even supposed to get the ball, according to North coach John Terry.
“We had set something up twice (during three timeouts), but they were too risky,” Terry said. “Finally, I came to my senses and we wanted to get the ball into our point guard (Lewis) and maybe have him chuck it up and get fouled.
“We didn’t even get it into the right hands of the right person. But apparently we did, if he hit a three-quarter court shot.”
The wild finale was set up by a back-and-forth battle that saw North run out to an 11-2 lead, only to have Stagg rip off 14 consecutive points. North quickly regrouped, and it turned into a game played a lot from the perimeter, with North and Stagg both hitting eight threes.
Before his inbound, Pellack hit a clutch three with 57.2 seconds remaining to tie the game. Stagg ran off the rest of the time before Strus missed from 10 feet. Wallace rebounded for North, setting up his own heroics.