SHABBONA – It's not often in high school basketball that a freshman is counted upon to make a big play in the final seconds of a close ball game.
But most first year players aren't like Genoa-Kingston's Tommy Lucca.
Lucca scored a team-high 14 points and sank both ends of bonus free-throw situations in the final two minutes of the Cogs' Saturday evening matchup with Indian Creek.
However it was Lucca's drive down the lane and finish with two seconds remaining that helped give his club a hard-fought 44-42 road win in the final game of the fourth annual Hoopapalooza at Indian Creek.
Indian Creek's attempt to score was stopped when the Indians' pass near the top of the key was deflected and stolen.
“The kids executed that play perfectly,” said G-K coach Corey Jenkins. “We had Mason (Lucca) coming off a double screen from our big guys and then Tommy following the same path. Mason caught it, took a couple dribbles and got to Tommy, who is our strongest player going to the hole and he came up big..
G-K (10-4) senior Adam Price backed Lucca's effort with a solid all-around game scoring 13 points and hauling down seven rebounds.
The Timberwolves (9-6) were led by a game-high 17 points from 6-9 senior center Garrison Govig, while classmate Jaron Todd added 10, including eight in the fourth period. Garrett Post had 10 rebounds for Indian Creek and Kyle Lieving dished off for six assists.
“We showed flashes and did some really good things, but we just couldn't put it all together,” said IC coach Joe Piekarz, whose club turned the ball over on five of their first six possessions. “We couldn't get that sustained execution both offensively and defensively. They did a nice job on Jaron and we were hoping to look down low to Garrison and Garrett on give them some good looks. (Our post players) did a nice job of finishing in the second half and Jaron hitting a couple of 3s was a key to us getting back in the game.”
After the quick start and a last-second hoop from Connor Bankson the Cogs led, 13-9, after one quarter. The visitors, despite only hitting 1-for-11 from the field in the second, made enough free throws to still hold a four-point lead at the intermission.
An Eli Thurlby layup and a corner trey from the younger Lucca highlighted a 9-2 run by G-K midway through the third and the Cogs still held a 36-25 advantage heading to the fourth.
The hosts were able to gain a pair of three-pointers from Todd and four points from Govig to slice the G-K lead to four. Govig's low post layup with 41 seconds left tied the game at 40-40 and a drive from Lieving knotted it at 42-42 with 16 seconds left.
“We had a little bit too much comfort zone to start that fourth quarter and took some bad shots,” Jenkins said. “We're trying to learn discipline, but the bottom line is we got to our tenth win of the season and it's hard to get into double digits.”