Alex King’s 3-point shot attempt just before the final horn bounced off the rim, leaving him and his Columbus North teammates stunned as they watched the visiting Hauser Jets celebrate a come-from-behind 55-54 victory Saturday evening in boys varsity basketball action.
The Jets trailed 40-29 midway through the third period before turning up the intensity on both ends of the court to storm back for the win. They still trailed 44-35 heading into the final quarter but immediately got a trey from senior Zach Johnson and a layup by Zach Gearhart to cut the deficit to four.
The guests continued to chip away, and the host Bull Dogs found themselves in a 48-48 tie with four minutes left in the contest.
A 3-pointer by Zach Gearhart at the 3:15 mark put Hauser in front for the first time in the contest and sent the Jets fans into a frenzy as they watched their small-school squad hold off their big-school rival the rest of the way and bump to 2-0 on the early season.
“This feels great,” said Johnson, who scored 16 points and handled the ball fearlessly against North’s pressure defense. “A lot of teams would have lost their composure against a team as good as Columbus North, but we never stop believing in ourselves.”
Gearhart’s clutch triple was one of four he knocked down on the night. He finished with 19 points as well as a team-leading 10 rebounds.
The Jets connected on eight long-range bombs for the game and, perhaps even more impressively, outrebounded the taller Bull Dogs, 36-31.
“This team played hard from the beginning and everyone contributed,” said Hauser coach Bob Nobbe. “When we were trailing midway through the third period, we took a timeout, and the guys realized it was time to do something special and they went out and turned it around.”
King, who finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, had buried a 3 from the top of the key with 9 seconds remaining to cut the Jets’ lead to the single point. He was joined in double-figure scoring by Nathan VanDeventer, who came off the bench to lead all scorers with 21 points.
“Hauser came out and played hard against us and we just failed to put them away,” said North coach Paul Ferguson, who noted that key misses at the charity stripe hurt his team down the stretch. “We are a young team and have to remember our focus is to get better by February. So we’ll learn from this and improve upon it.”