VALPARAISO | It was just the way Valparaiso coach Matt Thomas drew it up. Almost.
Valparaiso senior Justin Osburn hit a 10-foot baseline runner at the buzzer with Elkhart Memorial's Dimitri Giger in his face to give the Vikings a much-needed 41-39 overtime victory.
Thomas wanted the ball in Osburn's hands on the right side of the court. Osburn was instructed to drive if he didn't have a good look from outside.
When Osburn encountered the lanky 6-foot-4 Giger in his path, he basically lofted a knuckle ball that swished through the net.
"I just threw it up to be honest," Osburn said. "It was a miracle.
"But to get to that point ... it was just a grind-it-out game."
Valpo (3-3) snapped a three-game losing streak, and it wasn't easy.
Valpo missed its first 14 3-pointers of the game, but Osburn finally connected with 5:09 remaining to get the Vikings within 34-30.
Sophomore Conner TenHove scored off an assist from Drew Paul with 3:35 remaining, and Max Jindra tied it with a pair of free throws at 34-34 with 1:22 to play.
The Chargers (2-3) did not score in the final six minutes of the fourth quarter, but they had a chance to win it on the final possession. Valpo had two fouls to give, so Paul fouled Giger twice in the last 7.7 seconds.
After the second foul with 4.2 remaining, the Chargers tried a cross-court inbounds but threw it right to Jindra. He sprinted the other way, and lofted an on-line 3-pointer at the buzzer that just missed.
Osburn started the overtime with another 3-pointer and Cole Wolf hit two from the line for a 39-34 Valpo advantage with 1:48 remaining, but the Chargers tied it on a 3-pointer by Jon Bailey and a Giger bucket in the lane.
Thomas called a timeout with 31 seconds left to draw up the final play for Osburn.
"They were trapping the ball screen so we wanted Justin to either shoot it or drive," Thomas said. "We wanted to get it in his hands with 10 seconds with a chance to attack."
Osburn finished with 13 points, while TenHove had 10 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out on a questionable charging call with 2:00 remaining in the overtime.
Giger led Memorial with 13 points and Gary scored 10.
The Vikings won despite shooting just 29.1 percent (14 of 48) overall including 2-of-18 from 3-point range.
"To go 2-for-18 from 3 and find a way to win, that's why I love these guys," Thomas said. "To pull this out, they did everything we preach in terms of mental toughness. They can keep believing in what I'm preaching. I'm happy for them because it's not easy for them. When you play for Valpo, people want to win. They feel that, too."