BATAVIA – Trent Tousana’s second free throw, what would’ve broken a tie with less than 10 seconds left, clanked off the rim and found its way onto the floor.
Ethan Ivan, somehow, swam through the mass of bodies before tossing up the ultimate game-winning shot with five seconds left to stun Geneva 38-36 on Friday.
Geneva still had some life, though, as Mick Lawrence sprang free for a three-point attempt that missed at the buzzer.
“I low-key knew if I was going to miss, [Ivan] was going to get a rebound because [Ivan and Austin Ambrose] had been [doing well] against their bigs,” Tousana said. “I just knew he was going to get in and make a big play if I missed.”
Ivan, from his vantage point, did the same move in the lane in previous free throw attempts to get to the middle of the lane where the ball could bounce off a miss.
“A few times, it just bounced the other way and I got unlucky,” said Ivan, who had 12 points and seven rebounds. But, that [time], it bounced right to me and I just went right up with it.”
Lawrence appeared to have a favorable look in transition, but Ivan “definitely trusted our guys with one stop.”
“We sometimes at practice do 30-second drills and they only had five seconds,” Ivan said. “Alex [Taylor] was up on him. [Lawrence] got an OK shot.”
Batavia (18-9, 6-5) nursed a six-point lead with at least two minutes left, but Lawrence converted a three-point play to cut the margin in half. Ivan and Geneva sophomore forward Hayden Vostal traded layups, before Geneva’s Chris Suger tied the game at 34-34 with a three-pointer with 1:17 left.
Tousana, who was held scoreless until 7:17 in the third quarter, split two free throws to give Batavia a slim one-point lead. Lawrence’s layup gave Geneva (12-13, 2-9) its own lead with 49 seconds at 36-35 before the heart-pounding finish.
Tousana finished with five points, while Austin Ambrose had 10 points and 12 rebounds. Taylor had nine points for the Bulldogs.
“Give Geneva a lot of credit. They did a lot of good things there,” Batavia coach Jim Nazos said. “They came back. They never were going to go away. I mean, up six, they were never going to go away. They did exactly what they had to do to come back. I give our guys a ton of credit there hanging in. It felt like they couldn’t throw it in the ocean – Geneva probably felt it, too – it was kind of defensive battle and you got to rebound the ball. I thought our guys did a really good job of kind of getting some extra [baskets]…Geneva, they’re good. They’ve lost a few games like this, but they’re never going to go away.”
Batavia defeated Geneva for the second time in the regular season. The Vikings were led by Lawrence’s 12 points, while Suger had eight. Jimmy Rasmussen had six points, as did Vostal.
“We work on [box outs] all the time.,” Geneva coach Scott Hennig said of the ultimate game-winner. “I felt like it took a nice bounce for [Ivan]…We just didn’t execute down the stretch. It was similar to Tuesday night against St. Charles North. But, the kids played really hard. [Rasmussen had] awesome defense [on Tousana]. I felt we did a good job on Ambrose. I think he had 10 or 12, but we did a nice job. The game plan was great. [Batavia] is a good team.”