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King of the hill : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
King of the hill
McAllister's buzzer-beating triple gives Oswego East 70-69 win over Oswego

by Kristin Sharp


When the Oswego boys' basketball team took a 69-67 lead with two seconds remaining in regulation, there was only one logical thing for Oswego East to do.

Look for senior Mike McAllister.

The Oswego East guard took the inbounds pass from senior Devin Flowers and launched a three-pointer from midway between half-court and the three-point arc and as the buzzer sounded, the ball cleared the rim and let loose a flood of Wolves' fans onto the court in celebration.

"I just stepped back behind the line. The team trusted me," McAllister said. "Coach called a good play. They set a good screen, gave me the ball and I just came through for the team."

Oswego East not only defeated Oswego, 70-69, last Friday on its home court, but the Wolves earned their first win over their rival Panthers since Feb. 5, 2011.

"I've been around high school basketball for a long time and this is one of the most exciting finishes I've seen to a game I've seen in awhile," Oswego East head coach Steve Szymanski said. "It was awesome. To beat your crosstown your rival on a shot like that, that's something we'll remember forever. I said to them in the locker room, 'we're not going to win conference; let's leave a lasting impression of your last game as a senior.' They did that."

From the opening tipoff, Oswego East (9-12, 4-6 Southwest Prairie Conference) controlled the scoreboard, but Oswego (10-11, 5-5 SPC) battled is way to a 62-61 lead in the final 2:30 of regulation. McAllister, who had scored two previous long-distance shots, hit a three-pointer from well beyond the arc to tie the game at 67 with 63 seconds to play. He finished with a game-high 26 points and six assists.

Szymanski promptly called a timeout, but neither team was able to score over the next 56 seconds. Schnable used his final two timeouts to set up a final shot for the Panthers, and Oswego freshman guard Jaylen Jones hit a short jumper with 7 seconds on the clock to put the Panthers ahead 69-67.

"It was basically a four-on-four match because of the on-the-ball defender. It's going to 22 (McAllister.) The kid made a play," Oswego head coach Kevin Schnable said. "What goes unnoticed is the kid (Flowers) who made the pass. That was a heckuva pass."

Oswego East took possession under the Oswego basket, and Szymanski called another timeout with 6.5 to play near half court. Flowers (16 points) held the ball off court waiting for an opportunity for McAllister, and his buzzer-beater is one that the Wolves - and their first-year head coach - will never forget.

"We really wanted to get something going from full court so Mike could build some steam and get to the hoop a little bitter. That obviously didn't work out. I was worried about a five-second call, but Devin got it in at about four seconds. Mike's played his best game of the year on both ends of the floor."

Oswego East freshman Trevor Ross set the tone with the first basket of the game - a three pointer - and McAllister hit one at the arc to tie the game at 10 in the first quarter. The Wolves would shoot 10-for-17 beyond the arc that night and McAllister was 5-for-5.

Oswego freshman Isaiah Richardson scored to start the second quarter and hit two at the free-throw line for a 19-16 game before junior Zach West's basket created a 23-22 game in favor of the Wolves.

McAllister sank another three-pointer before halftime and junior Daejon Perry followed with one of his own to put the Wolves ahead 33-27 at halftime. Ross scored ahead of Flowers' three-pointer, and sophomore Demetrius Ewing was good for a three-point play to put the Wolves out to a 42-33 lead.

Jaylen Jones, senior Javon Jones and sophomore Joe Hennessy did their part to chip away at the Panthers' deficit, creating a 44-41 game late in the third period. West's three-pointer with 2:50 remaining in the quarter cut Oswego East's lead to 46-44, but the Wolves maintained the lead through the end of the period.

McAllister opened the fourth quarter with another three-point basket and Flowers stepped up with the lay-in for a 59-51 lead, prompting an Oswego timeout. Jaylen Jones (12 points) scored six points down the stretch for a 61-60 Oswego East lead, and sophomore Brice Robinson scored two at the free-throw line to give Oswego it's first lead (62-61) of the game since the early minutes of play.

West (17 points) was fouled on his basket and completed the three-point play to put Oswego ahead 65-62 and Robinson added two more at the foul line for a 67-64 score prior to McAllister's next three-pointer to tie the game and lead to the wild finish as teams exchanged baskets in the final seven seconds.

"We got the lead, got the momentum, but not for long," Oswego head coach Kevin Schnable said. "Credit their kids for really beating us up on the boards. It's a shame. We force 28 turnovers, but we gave up 13 offensive rebounds. That's the name of tonight's game. That's what built their lead. We dug a hole and climbed out of it, but when you give up 13 extra possessions, that's hard to do when you're playing here in this game. Credit their kids for beating us on the boards."

Oswego hauled in 34 rebounds - led by sophomore Steven Frank's 11 - but Schnable's concern was with Oswego East's 35 rebounds and 13 offensive boards. Flowers finished with 10 rebounds and Ross had eight.

In addition to McAllister and Flowers, Oswego East had a third double-digit scorer in junior forward Jalen Williams, who chipped in with 10 points.

"Our starting big man is out (Houston McCullum), so I knew I had to step up and get a lot of boards. That was my No. 1 focus," Flowers said. "After that, everything else just came together. We're playing more as a team now."

For Oswego East, the victory also avenges a 58-51 overtime loss to Oswego on Dec. 20.

"It paid off because we've been in so many games that we were close. We knew we had to come together as a team. We came back as a team, so I'm proud," McAllister said. "This is a big game for us because it can boost us into playoffs."

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