O’Shaughnessy’s buzzer-beater lifts Poland


By DAN HINER

sports@vindy.com

POLAND

Poland sophomore Braeden O’Shaughnessy led the Bulldogs with 18 points and nine rebounds against Edgewood on Friday night, but his last basket was the most important.

With 3.1 seconds left, Poland had blown an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter. But with the Bulldogs inbounding the ball, O’Shaughnessy caught the pass, drove the right baseline and banked in a layup at the buzzer to give Poland a 61-60 victory.

“You dream of it,” O’Shaughnessy said. “When [the opportunity] comes you gotta do it, and if not, it happens. You dream of it, you practice it and sometimes it goes in and sometimes it doesn’t. Luckily, it went in.”

Poland (13-4, 7-2 All-American Conference, White Tier) could not have won if not for the performances by juniors Mike Diaz and Brandon Barringer.

Diaz scored seven points and led the Bulldogs with five steals. Barringer was second on the team with 15 points.

Poland jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, and carried a 56-45 led into the fourth. The Bulldogs held onto the lead until the closing seconds of the game.

Edgewood (14-3, 9-3) took its only lead of the game with approximately 30 seconds left. With the Warriors trailing 59-57, Edgewood sophomore Hayden Kanicki pulled up and hit a 3-pointer from the right wing.

The Warriors climbed back into the game because of their defense. Edgewood outscored Poland 35-24 and stole the ball 11 times in the second half.

“We weren’t quite ready, a little bit overconfident — we’ve been on a pretty big winning streak,” Edgewood coach John Bowler said. “We didn’t start off very well, but we made a nice comeback. We got some steals and some turnovers in the second half.

“The game was ours to win, and Poland took it away with three seconds left and they deserved to win.”

Kanicki scored a game-high 20 points and shot 3-6 from behind the 3-point line. His teammate Marcus Ernest was second on the team with 18 points and led the Warriors with six rebounds.

This wasn’t O’Shaughnessy’s first game-winning shot. Earlier in the season, he made a game-winner against Warren Harding. O’Shaughnessy said Friday night’s shot was more difficult because he needed to go around a defender at the rim.

Poland head coach Ken Grisdale said some of the players were disappointed because they thought the Bulldogs lost the game. He said the players showed maturity in their ability to shake off the doubt and get back into the game.

Grisdale said the team is still making progress, and occasionally, there are some mistakes. He said those mistakes were apparent in the second half, and they let Edgewood get back into the ballgame.

“I’m very pleased where we’re at,” Grisdale said. “We’re not the prettiest team. We compete hard, extremely hard. I think we’re fun to watch. We’re not always as fun to coach because we don’t always make the best decisions. But they’re kids, and they are trying their darndest to do the best they can.”

Earlier in the season, O’Shaughnessy was an example of the inexperience. He had trouble hitting his shots for a couple weeks, but now he’s starting to get back into rhythm.

“Early on in the season, we were asking him to do too much,” Grisdale said. “I think we’ve taken some of the weight off his shoulders, he doesn’t feel like he has to make every play. I think he’s relaxed and his stroke’s coming back.

“He has to play well for us to succeed. He’s playing better, but I think the team’s playing a lot better.”

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