Hackett Catholic won an overtime thriller 66-64 Saturday evening at Schoolcraft, keeping the Irish in the hunt for the SAC Valley title. The win gives Hackett the regular season sweep over the Eagles, joining the 57-54 home win from January.
Schoolcraft started with an early 6-2 advantage, followed by a 10-2 response from Hackett. The Irish ended the first with a 5-0 run for a 17-10 lead; a lead they would hold until the final two minutes of regulation.
The second quarter was even at 13-13 and the third was also 13-13 until the final 90 seconds. Hackett finished the frame with a Heath Baldwin two-pointer, followed by a Cooper Smith triple just before the buzzer. The 48-36 score heading into the fourth gave the Irish their biggest lead of the game.
Schoolcraft battled back, despite foul troubles and an injury to starting forward Chris Cooper. The Eagles had the first two buckets to get back within single-digits, but the old-fashioned three-point play by Baldwin put Hackett back up by 1- with 3:50 remaining in the fourth, 56-46.
Riley Piper responded from outside the arc for Schoolcraft, followed by their fourth timeout. Soon after, the Eagles forced a five-count on an inbound, followed by a Kobe Clark three. The sophomore heated up, getting another two seconds later off a Brice Walther steal for a 56-54 score with around three minutes left. Jakob Huysken tied the game a minute later at 56.
The Irish left the door open, ultimately going 17-32 from the free throw line in the game. They made one to reclaim the lead, but Clark buried another triple, giving him 13 points in the quarter, for a Schoolcraft lead with 1:15 remaining.
Cooper Smith’s reversal with a minute to go evened the game at 59. The Eagles drained the clock to 20 seconds before having their shot rejected, giving Hackett the final possession. Brennan Creek’s isolation three-pointer missed, sending the game to overtime.
The Irish won the overtime tip and made two free throws on the possession from Creek, putting them ahead for good. The Eagles missed, followed by two more made free throws by Smith. After trading misses, Schoolcraft finally struck on a foul shot with 61 seconds remaining, 63-60.
The Irish would two clank free throws, get the rebound, then miss two more. A Huysken put-back with 31.2 left pushed the Eagles back within one. Schoolcraft quickly fouled, but this time Creek drained both free throws to get Hackett back up by three, 65-62.
Schoolcraft elected to get the quick two by Clark with 12 seconds remaining. A brief delay on the inbound drained the clock ever so slightly, leading to 5.3 left after an immediate foul off the inbound. Smith bricked the first free throw, but drained the second. Clark drove to the hoop and got the potential tying shot off just in time, but the try failed for a 66-64 Hackett victory.
Baldwin led the Irish with 17 points, followed by 15 from Creek, 12 by Smith, and 11 from Jacob Niesen. Clark topped all players with 18 for Schoolcraft, followed by 15 from Huysken and 10 by Trenton Lomason.
Hackett improves to 14-2 with the victory and 9-1 within the SAC Valley. Up next, the Irish host Valley leader Kalamazoo Christian (8-0, 13-1 overall) Friday in a doubleheader that can be heard live via JoeInsider.com.
Schoolcraft falls to 10-5 and 6-4 in the Valley. They travel to Galesburg-Augusta Friday.
HACKETT SCORING: Heath Baldwin 17, Brennan Creek 15, Cooper Smith 12, Jacob Niesen 11, Aidan Gillig 7, Eric Wenzel 2, Andrew Widger 2.
SCHOOLCRAFT SCORING: Kobe Clark 18, Jakob Huysken 15, Trenton Lomason 10, Bryce VanderWiere 9, Rielly Troyer 4, Riley Piper 3, Brady Flynn 2, Chris Cooper 2.