GARY | A packed gymnasium grew louder as Times No. 5 Bowman Academy came out of its timeout. There were 13.4 seconds left in the Eagles' Black Friday Shootout against Class 4A No. 7 Hamilton-Southeastern.
The Eagles had the ball trailing 72-71.
What happened isn't what coach Marvin Rea called. Junior Justin King dribbled out top and lofted a lazy pass to the side that was picked off by Paul Furlin. One free throw by the Royals concluded the scoring at 73-71.
But Bowman's Austin Daniels drove the length of the court and was denied at the basket as the buzzer sounded.
“That was a big play for us,” HSE coach Brian Sutterfield said.
“We've got to do a better job closing out games,” Rea said as his defending Class 2A state runner-up team fell to 0-2. “We have to work on our concentration level. They just don't understand the magnitude of what's going on.”
“It was a mental lapse,” King said. “It was critical.”
The Royals (2-0), who will play at Times No. 1 Lake Central today, led by nine at the start of the fourth quarter. Bowman sophomore Davon Dillard, who struggled in the Eagles' loss against Indianapolis Tech on Wednesday, showed why he is being recruited by half of America.
Well, at least for a few minutes.
First, he blocked Irvin at the basket. Then, with 22 seconds left, the 6-foot-4 forward stole the ball and went flying high above the rim for a layup to tie the score at 71. He scored eight of his 12 points in the final quarter.
“He was their go-to guy when they made their run,” Sutterfield said. “He's got some great abilities. He's got a great future ahead of him.”
HSE's Zak Irvin, who has signed to play at Michigan, had a game-high 30 points to go along with eight rebounds.
“I need to learn to leave my frustrations off the court,” Dillard said. “I can only bring my A game on the court. I've got to stop being so hard on myself. I can't play a perfect game. But I want to.”
King led the Eagles with 17 points and had seven boards. Arthur Haggard scored 14 for the Eagles and D'Mario Smith had 10.
But Bowman had 21 turnovers and was only 10-of-17 from the free throw line. Those numbers kill you in a two-point game.
“I asked all our guys if there was something they could've done more,” Rea said. “They all said yes.”