4A boys basketball: Collin Miller banks in 33-footer at buzzer, Lockport survives Thornton Fractional South

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LANSING – In a season with many losses, the Lockport boys basketball team got something else Monday evening.

A last-second victory.

Collin Miller banked in a 33-foot shot at the buzzer as the Porters survived and defeated host Thornton Fractional South 60-57 in a Class 4A Stagg Regional quarterfinal game. Lockport (9-20) advances to play Homewood-Flossmoor at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the first semifinal at Stagg. H-F is the top-seeded team in the Rich Township Sectional, while the Porters are No. 17.

“It was a great feeling,” Miller said of hitting the game-winner. “Obviously, it was a much-needed win. We were without (junior point guard) Bryce Turner, so it just feels good to win another one and get an extra game.”

Turner fractured a bone near his left ankle in last week’s 80-76 overtime loss to Sandburg. So without their point guard, the Porters were prone to turnovers in the fourth quarter and made 9 of 19 total in the game in the final eight minutes.

That helped TF South (11-19) rally from a 50-37 deficit with seven minutes to play. The Red Wolves tied it at 57 on a short jumper by senior guard Tyler Earmsmuth (10 points) with 11 seconds to play, and Lockport finally got a timeout after calling for one for a few seconds. That came with 4.7 seconds left.

“No, I didn’t think it was in. I was in disbelief. When everyone piled on me it felt like someone was choking me, but it was still a great feeling.”

—  Collin Miller, Lockport boys basketball

Then it went just like first-year Lockport coach Dave Wilson drew it up.

“It was an awkward inbounds position, but I wanted the ball to go to Collin, he’s a sure-handed kid,” Wilson said. “He had to go the length of the floor, but you can basically get a dribble per second, so I told him to take three or four dribbles and make something happen.”

Miller, a junior swing player who had tied the game late in regulation against Sandburg, did just that. He finished with 14 points, none bigger than the final three, which he launched from about 33 feet on the right side.

“I was supposed to have a running start as I took the inbound pass,” Miller said. “But my guy was up on me, and I didn’t get that. So I just looked to get upcourt. I could look to see if someone was open in the corner, but I was the main option. I saw the time out of the corner of my eye and knew I had to put it up.”

He did, and the buzzer sounded as the ball hit the backboard and went in. His teammates then mobbed Miller.

“No, I didn’t think it was in,” he said of his first game-winning shot at the buzzer. “I was in disbelief. When everyone piled on me it felt like someone was choking me, but it was still a great feeling.”

Anthony Kosi, a junior guard, led Lockport with 17 points and added seven rebounds. Senior guard Logan Cooper contributed 16 points.

Junior guard Rashad Peeples led TF South with 15 points. Senior guard Alex Lesure had nine of his 13 points in the fourth quarter to help the Red Wolves rally.

Lockport ended the first quarter on a 10-3 burst and led 15-13 after one quarter. The RedWolves regained the lead 17-15 in the opening minute of the second quarter, but never led again as the Porters responded with a 9-2 spurt. Cooper had seven points in the second quarter, including a long 3-pointer with four seconds left for a 30-24 halftime lead.

The lead grew to 13 in the third quarter, including Lockport leading 47-34 after three.

The victory felt great, as the Porters have had some tough losses. They set a record by reaching the 20-loss mark for the first time in school history.

“You can’t go by the record,” Wilson said. “We play one of the toughest schedules in the state, but that schedule prepared us to win a playoff game. No matter what happens Wednesday, we have another practice and another day together as a group.”