Less than five seconds away from winning its first state championship since 1937, an unlikely 3-pointer helped doom the Upper Arlington High School boys basketball team to second place.
Lakewood St. Edward’s Marsalis Hamilton hit only his second 3-point shot of the year with two seconds left in regulation March 22 at Ohio State, and the Eagles outscored the Golden Bears 10-6 in overtime to win 62-58 and capture the Division I state title.
“We talked about (fouling), yes,” UA coach Tim Casey said. “We absolutely talked about fouling, but we wanted (Hamilton) to shoot it. We were willing to take a chance with the other guys and (Hamilton) just made the shot.”
Hamilton was 1-for-8 on 3-pointers before the equalizer.
“It was not designed for (Hamilton), but he got the ball in that spot,” St. Edward (26-2) coach Eric Flannery said. “Kipper (Nichols, a 6-foot-7 guard) passed it off to him and (Nichols) was the guy who was supposed to shoot it. That goes to show you that a lot of kids might have just heaved the ball up because there were four seconds left. But Kipper made the extra pass, Marsalis got a great look and hit it.”
UA (27-2), which was in its first state tournament since 1939, never led in overtime before a mostly pro-Bears crowd of 14,234.
St. Edward worked its offense for more than two minutes, then Malcolm Walters’ layup made it 54-52.
Danny Hummer tied the game with two free throws, but the Eagles took control for good on two Derek Funderburk foul shots and a Tony Vuyancih layup off a steal with 39 seconds to go. UA’s Logan Richter made a layup with 7.3 seconds to go to make it 60-58, but Nichols made two foul shots to seal St. Edward’s second state title and first since 1998.
Hummer and Kevin Vannatta each had 15 points to pace UA.
Nichols had a game-high 26 points with five rebounds. Hamilton added 11 points.
“With this being the state championship, you knew no one was going to back down,” said Bears guard Wes Davis, whose 3-pointer with 3 minutes, 21 seconds left in the fourth quarter gave UA a 48-42 lead. “It went back and forth the whole game. That much, we expected.”
Hamilton’s tying shot came moments after UA had taken a 52-49 lead on a trick inbound play.
Vannatta threw a half-court pass to Hummer, the original inbounder, after Vannatta ran out of bounds along the baseline to take the pass. Hummer sprinted for a layup that gave UA that lead with 11 seconds to go.
The loss snapped UA’s 26-game winning streak. Still, the Bears — who led 11-10 after a quarter, 22-20 at halftime and 40-37 at the end of third on a Logan Richter 3-pointer — set a program-record for wins in a season.