A Timberwolves' 58-51 lead with two minutes remaining in the game made it seem like the holiday partying could continue for Indian Creek in celebration of a hard-fought victory over Morris in the Plano Christmas Classic.
The fighting wasn't over. Morris continued to claw and scratch in the contest and cut it to a 60-58 lead with nine seconds remaining.
Indian Creek took two timeouts to re-organize a play to finish the game. On the third in-bounds attempt, Morris' Ben Ortiz stole the ball at mid-court and drove to the lane where he drew a foul and converted the layup for a 60-60 tie.
Ortiz sank the free throw and gave Morris the 61-60 lead with 5.7 seconds remaining on the clock.
Indian Creek senior guard Kyle Lieving chugged the distance of the court for a last second, game winning shot attempt but his layup clanged on the bottom of the rim giving Morris the win.
“I thought we did a great job of putting ourselves in a position to win that game,” Indian Creek coach Joe Piekarz said. “You can't ask for much more, we were up five or six with less than a minute to go. You can't ask for anything more than that.
“Credit them, they made some good plays down the stretch and we couldn't make that one play. We needed one more play—we needed to be able to inbound the ball and knock down free throws and we couldn't get it done. When there is two good teams like that, it's usually one play that determines the outcome and that's exactly what happened.”
Junior center Garrison Govig led the Timberwolves with 27 points and 11 rebounds while senior guard Jaron Todd went 7-of-14 from the three-point line and recorded 23 points. Lieving only scored five points but had eight assists as he spoon-fed Govig and Todd.
“We didn't screen well enough. We just couldn't get the ball inbounds, that's all it comes down to,” Govig said. “We missed some free throws down the stretch of the fourth quarter. We can't hang our heads, we don't have anyone to blame except ourselves for this one.”
Indian Creek will return to Plano for the consolation bracket where they will face Coal City today at 12:30 p.m.
“We executed real well today. I thought we did a nice job of getting Garrison the ball down low, getting Jaron nice looks and finding them when they were open,” Piekarz said. “I thought we played a good game. I was extremely happy with the way we played. We didn't finish the last nine seconds but you can not go into this game thinking we played bad.”