CALUMET CITY | Lemont's Joe Hehir has been in several pressure situations before.
As a kicker on the football team, he has been there when the game was on the line.
Friday, it was not a big field goal, but a made free throw with 4.3 seconds left that gave the Indians a 51-50 South Suburban Blue Conference win over Times No. 4 T.F. North.
Hehir had missed the first free-throw attempt and T.F. North coach Tim Bankston called a timeout.
"I think he was trying to ice me," Hehir said. "I have been in that situation before, so I just stared a few more seconds at the rim (on the second shot) and it went it."
North (16-9, 8-2) came down court, but Greg McClain's 3-point attempt from the right wing hit off the backboard as time expired.
It was a friendly battle and a big win for Lemont coach Rick Runaas who was North's coach from 1998-2002. North coach Tim Bankston was his assistant. The Indians (20-2, 9-1) are still in the hunt for the SSC title, while North's hopes faded.
Free-throw shooting has been an Achilles' heel for T.F. North this season.
Friday was no different as the Meteors were 8-of-18 from the foul line, but coach Bankston said that wasn't the only problem.
"We didn't come out and play well at all in the second half," Bankston said. "It seems like we were just walking the ball up court.
"I've said it before, we are a senior team and these things should not be happening. We lost our focus once again."
North zoomed out to an 8-0 lead and led 28-19 at half, but Runaas said he changed some things up in the third quarter. "We came up and played closer on them," Runaas said. "We just had to play better defense and we got more into our game."
It was his second win over Bankston and first in Calumet City.
"Before the game, when we talk, it is about family not basketball," Runaas said. "Tim and I are good friends and he has a nice ball club here. He sure made us work for it tonight."
North's D.J. Deere had 21 points, while Nick Wood had 10.
Lemont's Juozas Balciunas led all scorers with 25 points. Hehir had 12.