WEST WARWICK- After their originally scheduled game was pushed back a day, the Junior Wizards tipped off against Western Hills on Friday afternoon, looking to avenge a loss to the Cobras in their first game of the year, back on Dec. 1.
Trailing 44-33 with 6:30 remaining, Deering looked like they were about to fall to 0-2 against the Cobras on the year. Instead of mailing it in, the team instead dug deep and found one last run within themselves, saving the best for the very last second. Jakai Rose hit a last second shot for the Wizards, giving them a thrilling 48-46 win in front of a near capacity crowd.
The drive began for the home team midway through the second half when they were staring at a double-digit deficit.
Kyle DaSilva was fouled in the act of shooting and successfully drained the ensuing free throw to pull the Wizards back to within six at 44-38. From there, it was John Pina connecting for back-to-back three point shots, as Deering had suddenly come roaring back to tie the game 44-44 with still 2:50 left to play. Pina would finish the game with a team-high 15 points, while Rose and DaSilva followed suit with 13 and 12.
The game did not look promising for Deering in the early going, with the Wizards managing just three points in the first six minutes of play, as the Cobras opened up an 11-3 advantage. Slowly but surely, the home team began to find their offensive stride, beginning with a three-pointer from #23.
With 58.7 to go, head coach Dan Sylvester elected to call a timeout, with a clear plan already set in motion. Given that there is no shot clock in middle school basketball, he decided to have his team use as much of the 58.7 seconds as they could, hoping to deny the Cobras a chance to get the ball back.
The plan proved to work, though just barely, with Rose’s shot falling through at the exact moment the buzzer sounded, giving the Wizards a Hollywood style victory, complete with a rushing of the court and team-wide celebration.
Though it is still just the regular season, the win was a significant one for the Wizards, who now stand tied for second with the Cobras.
Western Hills came into play Friday half a game behind division leading Feinstein, having lost just once on the season in league play at 6-1, which only adds to the significance of the win for Deering.
“We didn’t quite get the exact shot we wanted at the last second, but we’ll take what we can get,” Sylvester said after the game, adding that it was a “great win” for the team as a whole.
He praised his team for their no-quit mentality down the stretch, highlighting the production his team gave him from beyond the three-point line.
“What a great ending to the game,” he said.