KETTERING — Older fans will remember the late coach Jim Valvano running onto the court, moments after his N.C. State Wolfpack had defeated Houston on an improbable buzzer beating putback shot to claim the 1983 men’s college basketball championship.
Younger fans who played Saturday’s boys high school basketball Division II first round sectional game weren’t even a gleam in their parents’ eyes back then.
And while Carroll coach Tim Cogan wasn’t seen rushing the court after Saturday’s Feb. 25 buzzer beating 66-64 putback win over Dayton Meadowdale at the James S. Trent Arena, the Patriots’ win was just as exciting.
Knotted up at 64-64 after Meadowdale’s Kameron Jackson nailed a 3-pointer from the right corner with 1:22 left to play, on a play that left the Pats’ T.K. Robinson sprawled on the floor with a bloody mouth and maybe a missing tooth or two, Carroll made its next possession the last one.
Stafford Stevens brought the ball up court and held the ball at midcourt for about 30 seconds, then Cogan called a timeout with 30.6 ticks left in the game. During the timeout, Robinson was put back into the Carroll lineup. But once Meadowdale coach Dwayne Chastain saw the Patriots’ offensive scheme, he called a 30-second timeout.
With timeouts out of the way and both teams having strategized the heck out of the final play, Carroll inbounded the ball from the right side. Jack Seltsam passed to Robinson who put up a shot from the right wing that fell left and short of the hoop … but reminiscent of Lorenzo Charles’ last-second heroics in the North Carolina State win some 34 years earlier, Carroll’s Eli Ramsey snared the wayward shot and quickly banked in a shot from the left side to give Carroll a very memorable win.
“We drew up the play, but it didn’t go how we wanted,” Cogan said. “We told the kids during that last timeout ‘When that shot goes up, you’ve gotta go hard for the boards and get the rebound.’ That’s how Ramsey got that rebound putback.”
With Meadowdale’s Jaboli Leonard becoming eligible for the game, Cogan said he knew his Patriots bunch would have their work cut out for them. Leonard scored a game-high 22 points, but Carroll limited him to one 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. Lions teammate Travis Mitchell also got into double-figure scoring with a 16-point outing, but he was held scoreless in the third quarter.
“The difference was that (Carroll) used all five of its players to go down and rebound the ball, and we didn’t,” Chastain said in a somber Meadowdale locker room. “We watched the flight of the ball, we thought the clock was going to run out. They continued to play until they heard the buzzer, and we didn’t.
“It hurts terribly.”
Chastain thanked seniors Brandon McCoy, Johnny Trigg and Keyvon McClendon for a great season. “If it wasn’t for their heart, desire and leadership, we wouldn’t have been as successful this season as we had been.”
Down the same hallway, Ramsey and Stafford Stevens recalled the winning play.
“It was pretty crazy,” Ramsey said. “I knew Stafford was gonna produce something. He took his guy one-on-one, and T.K. took the shot. As soon as I caught it, I knew it was going in.”
Stevens said the team took Cogan’s brief rebounding sermon to heart.
“Coach told us ‘When the shot goes up, go to the boards,’ and that’s what Eli did, and he got us the winning bucket,” Stevens said.
With the win, No. 10 seeded Carroll advances in the D-II sectional tourney to play third seed Kettering Alter at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 1 at Trent Arena.