HOPE — Leading Hauser by 16 points going into the fourth quarter, Lawrenceburg looked like it would cruise to its sixth consecutive win.
But the Jets wouldn’t go away.
Hauser scored 17 consecutive points to take a 52-51 lead with 14 seconds remaining. After the Tigers called timeout with 5 seconds left, they got the ball to Curtis White, who drove the lane for a layup with 1 second remaining to hand the Jets a heartbreaking 53-52 loss.
“When we started pressuring full court, that turned it around,” said Hauser interim coach Griff Roth. “It was a great job for our guys not giving up, to keep plugging, keep going. It was a great effort by our guys in the fourth quarter.”
The loss spoiled a big night from 6-foot-7 junior Alex Gross. Gross put up a career-high 29 points and 13 rebounds.
Gross scored 19 of his the Jets’ 25 points in the first half, but Hauser (6-6) was trading 2s for 3s. Lawrenceburg (9-2) went 9 of 13 from 3-point range in the first half and led 38-25 at the break.
“We talked about trying to stay on them because we knew they were a good shooting squad,” Roth said. “They got lot loose enough, and they were stroking them.”
The Tigers built the lead to 48-30 with 2:08 left in the third quarter. They led 51-35 heading into the final eight minutes when the Jets started their furious comeback.
Baskets by Mason Sherman, Andrew Titus, Gross, Connor Wilson, Brad Paetzel cut the lead to 51-45 with 2:25 remaining. Lawrenceburg then missed three consecutive one-and-ones, and a basket by Wilson and a 3-pointer by Gross cut it to 51-50 with 40 seconds left.
After the Tigers committed their seventh turnover of the final period, Hauser called a timeout. Sherman then nailed a 13-footer to give the Jets their first lead of the game.
“Our defense got better,” Gross said. “We’re still trying to work on trying to get four quarters of good defense. We have spurts, but right now, we’re trying to get more consistent.”
White’s game-winning buzzer-beater was the Tigers’ only points of the fourth quarter.
Hauser was playing for the first time since the resignation of coach Bob Nobbe because of health reasons. Roth, who has been the junior varsity coach, has been coaching the varsity all season and was named interim coach on Tuesday.
Five of the Jets’ six losses have come against Class 3A or 4A teams. Lawrenceburg is a Class 3A program.
“We can beat anybody as long as we get our defense consistent,” Gross said. “We have all the tools. We have the guards, we have the bigs, we have the bench. We just have to play more consistent.”