February 01, 2012 | 07:31 AMWALWORTH — The ball slowly fluttered toward the rim, grazing the front end and rolling off the backboard before bouncing back to the front rim.
It sat there for a mere second before falling off the rim, but it seemed like an eternity.
With his team trailing 48-46 with 4.2 seconds remaining Monday night, Lawrence Crement missed the next shot on purpose, but despite a Herculean crash of the boards from both Crement and Michael Roth, Big Foot's Ian Carthey secured the ball, which ultimately secured a victory for Big Foot.
Carthey would go on to make two free throws with 0 .8 seconds on the clock, and the Chiefs hung on for a 50-48 home win over their Geneva Lake West rival, Williams Bay.
Big Foot improved to 3-13 overall, while the Bay dropped to 3-11.
Chiefs junior forward Bryan Colby's two foul shots with 21.9 seconds remaining gave Big Foot its first lead since a 26-25 advantage early in the third quarter. The Bay used a brutal, physical style to thwart Big Foot's offense in the third quarter. Also, inside post offense from Crement and John Higgins helped the Bay build a 38-31 lead after three quarters.
But Big Foot stormed back with a 19-10 fourth quarter. It started with a 13-8 run which forced the Bay to call a timeout with 2:45 left. The teams went scoreless for more than two minutes out of the timeout, but Big Foot senior Jordan Miller finally knocked down two foul shots to tie the game at 46-46 with 36.1 seconds to go.
On the ensuing Williams Bay inbounds pass, Crement found Adam Lechelt, who took the ball in for an open layup but had the ball slip out of his hands just as he attempted the shot. Walker snatched the loose ball, tossed a baseball pass the nearly the length of the court to a streaking Colby, who utilized a series of fakes to draw a foul on Michael Roth and get to the line. It was Roth's fifth foul.
"I feel we played with a lot of heart," Colby said. "We've been missing that a lot lately. We did not want to lose to the Bay. It's a rivalry. Once we all started hustling, the points just came."
Big Foot sank 10 of 13 free throws in the final quarter, while the Bay only connected on one of eight. For the game, the Bulldogs only hit 10 of 25.
"We got out of what we did," Big Foot coach Tim Collins said. "After a timeout in the fourth, we slowly chipped away and got back to what got us here. Bay's inability to hit free throws killed them down the stretch. That's been our Achilles' heel all year, and the guy with the worst percentage on the team (Colby) makes the two to put us up. It's kind of ironic."
Before his two clutch free throws, Colby had been two of 25 (8 percent) for the season.
Big Foot senior Kenny Walker led all scorers with 17 points. He scored a pivotal layup and sank two foul shots late in the fourth to help spark Big Foot's comeback. With Big Foot down 46-42, Miller tallied Big Foot's next four points, all at the free-throw line, to tie the game.
Bay coach Troy Nottestad said his team struggled in the fourth.
"In order to get our lead, we were aggressive with the ball on offense," he said. "We stopped being aggressive, and you can't have empty trips. In the second half, we were two for 12 from the free-throw line. We let them back in it. Right now, we don't find ways to finish games."
Crement paced the Bay with 16 points, and Higgins, a freshman, added 14.
Big Foot returns home Thursday to face a daunting task, a matchup with Division 3's fourth-ranked team, East Troy (13-2). The Bulldogs travel to Johnson Creek (3-12, 3-5) Thursday.
Before Monday's win, Big Foot had lost four straight and 12 of 13. But Colby believes things may turn around.
"This will kind of get the ball rolling," he said. "We had a lot of injuries and ineligibilities to start the season. Whitewater (Jan. 26) was our first game as a full team, and this was our second. It's nice. We have the subs coming in, and we don't have to worry about foul trouble. This might be the spark. We're just going to keep going forward and hope for the best."
Williams Bay 66, Madison Abundant Life 54
On Jan. 24, three days before a 66-50 home loss to Fall River, the Bulldogs picked up their third win of the season in Madison.
Crement led the Bay with 21 points, including a breakaway, rim-rocking, two-handed slam dunk. Crement had to hang on the rim momentarily to avoid falling on a Crusader player.
Crement added 11 rebounds, six assists, six steals and four blocks. Roth added nine rebounds, and Jonah VanVleet paced the Bay with five steals.
The Bulldogs built a 35-20 halftime lead and cruised from there.
Bay sophomore guard Sergey Klyukvin added 13 points, and junior Mason Reyenga added nine.
Whitewater 68, Big Foot 49
After a 55-44 home loss to Palmyra-Eagle Jan. 24, the Chiefs finally played with a full team for the first time this season Jan. 27 at Whitewater.
But the Whippets jumped out to a 41-20 halftime lead en route to a blowout win.
Walker led the Chiefs with 12 points including two triples, while Colby added eight.