Pilot Grove boys basketball coach Derek Skaggs admitted that the last second shot by sophomore Bailey Quint wasn’t exactly how he drew it up Tuesday night in CAC action against the New Franklin Bulldogs.
But after getting blown out the last two games by Glasgow and Cairo, Skaggs will take anything he can get at this point after the Tigers won on a half-court shot by Quint off the glass at the buzzer for a 39-38 victory.
The win improved Pilot Grove’s record to 11-12 overall and 4-4 in the CAC while New Franklin dropped to 16-8 overall and 5-4 in league play.
“Our kids fought hard tonight,” Skaggs said. “We stayed within one possession all night long and we have great success when we give ourselves a chance late. When our guys are locked in on our plan we are tough. We had several guys that had key moments for us to make this game complete. We played a complete game. Lucas had three huge possessions on the offensive end in the third, Bo played great 1 on 1 defense in the third as well and Dorsan on the interior for us.
“Even when Bailey had a play go against him late and turning it over, he still found a way to pick himself up to hit the game winner at half court. Just a complete team victory for all of us. We talked about moving on to the next play all night and put yourself in a situation to have success by moving on to the next play. It’s just nice when it comes through.”
The Tigers definitely had it all come together late, that’s for sure. But while winning on a last second shot by Quint, it seemed like Pilot Grove was playing just to stay alive even though the score was 11-11 after one, 22-20 at the half and 34-32 after three.
Pilot Grove had the lead just twice in the first half at 9-7 and 11-9 while New Franklin’s biggest lead came early in the second quarter after back to back baskets by junior Gavin Bishop to make it 15-11 with 6:35 left.
However after playing to four ties and five lead changes in the first half alone, the Tigers were very close to letting the game get away as New Franklin opened up the second half with a 8-2 run to go up 30-22 with 5:50 left.
Pilot Grove didn’t waver, though. Over the final five minutes of the third, the Tigers rallied back to cut the lead to two at 34-32 after going on a 10-4 run.
The fourth quarter was also back and forth, with New Franklin leading 37-35 with 20 seconds left. However after cutting the lead to one at 37-36 after Gavin Shepherd hit 1 of 2 foul shots, the Tigers again looked to be dead in the water after fouling with 6.6 seconds remaining. Pilot Grove, however, caught a break when the Bulldogs were only able to connect on 1 of 2 shots to go up 38-36. But on the Tigers next possession, Bailey turned it back over with 4.3 seconds showing on the clock.
Luckily for Pilot Grove, the Bulldogs were once again unable to convert at the foul line with 3.2 seconds remaining. That’s all Quint would need after dribbling to half court and putting up a three off the glass at the buzzer for the win.
New Franklin coach Ross Dobson said he will personally take the reason why the Bulldogs lost the game. “I didn’t put our team in a position to win the game and was out-coached,” Dobson said. “The boys did everything I asked them to. Pilot Grove worked extremely hard the whole game and coach Skaggs had them going.”
Pilot Grove's Lucas Fahrendorf had a huge night for the Tigers with two huge threes late for a total of 11 points. Gavin Shepherd tallied nine points while Cole Meisenheimer added seven, Bailey Quint six, Kealin Vinson four and Bo Vinson two.
For New Franklin, Gavin Bishop had 13 points. Kolby Anson chipped in eight while Tyler Perkins added six, Tre’ Cowans four, Tysen Dowell three and Carter Bailey and Jackson Dorson each with two.
The Bulldogs also finished the game, hitting just 10 of 19 shots from the foul line for 53 percent.