Boys basketball: Lockport pulls out 1-point victory at Lincoln-Way East

Collin Miller’s free throw with 5.5 seconds left breaks tie

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FRANKFORT – The Lockport boys basketball team kept battling.

Tuesday evening, the Porters were rewarded.

Collin Miller hit a free throw with 5.5 seconds to play for the game-winning point as the Porters upended Lincoln-Way East 52-51 in a SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue Division matchup in Frankfort.

The win snapped a six-game losing streak for Lockport (8-16, 1-3 SWSC Blue). It was the third loss in a row for the Griffins (15-8, 2-3).

“This is very big,” Miller said. “We’d been on a losing streak, so this was just great. It gives us a lot of energy and momentum.”

Miller, a junior forward, finished with nine points, five of them in the fourth quarter, and eight rebounds. He hit a pair of free throws with 50.5 seconds left to give the Porters a 51-49 lead. But Lincoln-Way East sophomore guard BJ Powell (12 points) answered with a pair of free throws of his own to knot the game at 51 with 29.5 seconds to play.

Lockport called a timeout with 7.8 seconds left and got the ball to Miller, who was fouled and made the first of his free throws. He missed his second, but a rushed 15-foot shot by the Griffins found nothing but air.

“I just stayed under control and knew I had to make one,” Miller said of his free throws, “Then [on the Griffins’ final chance], I just stood straight up and played defense.”

Junior guard Anthony Kosi had a game-high 22 points and eight rebounds for the Porters, including numerous big shots.

“This is the biggest win of the year,” Kosi said. “Just knowing it’s a rivalry game for us, we just had to give our all in order to win. The whole game I felt confident. I knew that Collin would make at least one of those, and he did.”

There were three ties in the fourth quarter, but Lockport never trailed. The Griffins had a 6-0 run to tie the game at 47 on a pair of free throws by junior guard Brent Taylor (13 points) with 2:08 to play. Junior guard Ramzy Bardarawi, who came off the bench to score 13 points, banked home a shot in the lane, but 14 seconds later Powell drove to the hoop and tied it at 49 with 1:19 remaining.

“We weathered the storm,” Lockport coach Dave Wilson said. “We needed the win. [The Griffins] have superior athletes, and we made a conscious effort to slow the game down to a snail’s pace and limit their possessions.”

That was certainly the case in the first half. The teams combined to go 9 of 37 from the field.

Junior guard Brenden Sanders had six of his nine points in a 16-5 Griffin spurt to open the third quarter for a 29-23 advantage with 3:48 left. But undaunted, Lockport responded with a 15-6 burst of its own to lead 38-35 after three.

Sophomore forward Jacob Alexander also added nine points for Lincoln-Way East, which starts three sophomores and two juniors.

“We scored three points in the second quarter, and that’s the ballgame,” said Lincoln-Way East coach Rich Kolimas, who registered his 400th career win earlier this season. “Give Lockport credit. they slowed it down and forced us to shoot outside.

“We had a big run to start the third quarter and forced turnovers [six in the third quarter], but then they solved it and made open 3s and scored 20 points in the third quarter. That was a momentum shift. Unfortunately, it came down to free throws at the end. They made the one, and we didn’t get an opportunity.”

The Porters have had opportunities throughout the season but have lost five games by seven points or less, including three by two points or fewer.

“Maybe the lid is off,” said Wilson, who is in his first season as Lockport head coach after a decade at Andrew. “We’ve fought through it, and this one feels good. We’re like cross country runners, we want to peak at the end.”