With 3.6 seconds left in regulation, Nick Schiavello had an open lane to the basket; however, Columbus North called a timeout to set up another play.
Jakub Trusina made sure the “what if” never came to fruition.
Reese Harmon made the inbounds pass to Trusina, who drove down the lane and hit the game-winning field goal at the buzzer to lift the Bull Dogs past Perry Meridian 44-42 in Saturday afternoon’s boys basketball contest.
That capped off an incredible comeback for North after trailing by double digits in the middle of the third quarter.
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“It just got to me, and I was like ‘I just have to take this guy to the rim,’” Trusina said. “It went through, so I’m just happy to be there and celebrate with my teammates.”
Trusina’s game-winner also sets a milestone for North coach Paul Ferguson. The victory gives Ferguson his 200th career victory as a head coach.
“We knew that Jakub had been feeling it during the game, and he had a weaker defender on him,” Ferguson said. “They had a bigger guy trying to stay in front of him. We felt like we could step Jakub out off the backscreen and get him in a one-on-one situation with a guy that was going to have trouble staying in front of him, and Jakub stepped up and hit a big shot.”
That wasn’t Trusina’s only big moment in the game. With the Bull Dogs trailing 30-19 in the third quarter, he drained a 3-point basket. Following the triple, Casper Clark made a runaway dunk in transition, which was followed by another trey by Trusina to cut the deficit to 30-27.
That proved to be one of the key turning points in the second half.
“I really want to thank my teammates because they never stopped believing in me, and to the coaching staff,” Trusina said. “They passed me the ball when I was open, and it’s all my teammates pretty much.”
Before the comeback happened, the Falcons (6-9) got off to a fast start in the first quarter and led 8-4. North (12-3) had trouble finding the basket, and that led to Perry Meridian finishing the first quarter on a 7-3 run to lead 15-7.
The Bull Dogs finally started getting into a little bit of a rhythm, but not enough to cut into the lead and trailed 24-17.
The Falcons jumped out to a 6-2 run to start the third quarter, leading 30-19, that set the Trusina spurt for the North. Schiavello drained a 3-pointer right before the third quarter buzzer to cut the lead to 38-32 heading into the fourth.
Perry Meridian led 40-35 until a Schiavello triple cut it to 40-38. After the Falcons converted a bucket, Harmon hit a pair of free throws, and Schiavello made a layup with just over a minute left to play to tie the game at 42-42. That set up Trusina’s shining moment.
“We believe that we can win every game,” Ferguson said of the second half comeback. “We knew that tonight was one of those games that if we just kept grinding, we felt like we were going to have a chance to win in the end.”
Jayden Taylor, a junior who has committed to play at Butler, led all scorers with 27 points to lead Perry Meridian. Schiavello finished with a team-high 15 points, while Trusina added 10 for North.
“A lot of guys stepped up and did the little things for us tonight,” Ferguson said. “Even though Blake (Barker) did not have one of his best games offensively, he had a big steal and pass to Nick for the layup to tie it up, so he still did a lot of little things for us. I thought Schiavello had a tough start to the game, and then stepped up and hit those two big 3s in the second half. Cameron Wischmeyer won a couple 50-50 balls late in the game, and Reese Harmon had some phenomenal on-ball defense. We had a lot of guys make little plays that put us in position for Jakub to make the big play in the end.”