GRANGER TWP.: The third option delivered a game-winning 3-point shot Wednesday night for the Walsh Jesuit boys basketball team.
Sophomore Joe Iacobacci received a pass from senior Max Siwik and swished a wide-open 3-point shot with four seconds to go in overtime to lead Walsh to a 54-53 victory over host Highland in a Division I sectional semifinal.
The Hornets held a two-point lead when Siwik dribbled to the basket and passed to his right where Iacobacci lined up his only points of the evening.
“At first, I didn’t know if I should shoot it,” Iacobacci said. “I didn’t know if we needed a 3-pointer at that point, but I just let it go. It did feel good. I wasn’t 100 percent sure if it was going in, but I knew I gave us a shot.”
Highland got off a 3-point shot near midcourt that hit the backboard as time expired.
“I have trust in his ability to make shots,” Walsh coach John Norris said of Iacobacci. “He has made shots for us all year.… He is in the game for that reason. I have a lot of trust in him and his teammates have a lot of trust in him to be able to make shots.”
Iacobacci, who is 6-foot, said his only other buzzer-beating shot came in eighth grade when he buried a 3-pointer to lead Immaculate Heart of Mary to a win.
“It does feel really good right now, but we just gotta go back to practice tomorrow and get ready for [GlenOak at 7 p.m.] Saturday,” Iacobacci said.
Sophomore Mitch Peterson led Walsh (14-9) with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Dom Mittiga had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and senior Gaven Cona scored six points.
“We had a play with a couple of options,” Norris said of the Warriors’ final possession.
“The first one was for Mitch and the second one was if they over-helped we gotta get it to Dom, and then after that it was Max make a play. We put Joe in that corner and Max made a good basketball decision like he has done all year.”
Junior Kevin Greenhoe paced Highland (15-7) with 17 points and senior Alec Withers finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Junior Tanner Houska had 11 points, four assists and three steals. Junior Brogan Scott had nine points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
“When you lose a game like that and you’re done, for me I don’t really talk basketball [in the locker room],” Highland coach Michael Murphy said. “I just talk about how proud I am of the kids and being Suburban League champs for the first time in nine years will never be taken away. We were predicted fifth in our league to start the year.”
Highland led 14-10 after one quarter Wednesday and 40-36 following three quarters. Walsh led 28-22 at halftime. The score was tied 48-48 at the end of regulation.
“That is a very good basketball team in Medina Highland,” Norris said. “If you watch them play over the course of the season, when they get a lead it is hard to beat them. That was a little bit of my fear coming in, is if we were behind how good they were at executing, taking care of the basketball and making free throws.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at https://ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.