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#6 - Oxford vs. Grenada (2nd Meeting) Boys Basketball 2006-07 - "Backup Thrills"
This might be the most exciting basketball finish I may ever get to watch in high school and it was done by guys who had little experience going into this game.
Before this game, four of the starting players got "sick" (I can only wonder how and a part of me thought they were faking it, but the fact is they did not start this game). Which means for this game it was play by committee and everyone was going to get (valuable) playing time.
Then-4A Oxford (back when there were only 5 classifications) was able to hang with then-5A Grenada all game long. Oxford for the most part have been dominating opponents all year but with most of their main players gone, this game (obviously) was a struggle with mainly underclassman playing major minutes in the game.
It remained close the entire game. Late in the 4th Quarter, Oxford was trailing by 3, 55-52 with 10 seconds left in the game. Oxford had to make a 3 to tie the game and force Overtime or they would lose. The first 3 by Cedric Hillard bounced too hard off the rim. J.J. Eftink was able to snag the rebound with two seconds left. He raced out to the 3-point line, fired it and was knocked into the benches by an incoming Grenada Defender attempting to block his shot.
The buzzer sounded as the whistle blew for a foul on Grenada. Time had expired but Eftink was awarded 3 shots for being fouled behind the 3-point line while attempting a shot. Making all three would tie the game and force OT.
Eftink made the first two free throws - all in dead silence from the Oxford fan base and Grenada trying to make noise. 55-54. Grenada calls timeout, despite protests from OHS Head Coach Drew Tyler that he cannot call one with time expired, was awarded the timeout because even with the time expired on the game clock, regulation was still going because Eftink was awarded the free throws for a foul done in regulation.
It did not matter, the ice in Eftink's vains pulled through and sunk the last free throw to tie the game at 55 and force OT.
OT like the game in regulation was a see-saw affair. Eventually it came down to the last play again. This time Grenada had sunk two free throws to pull ahead 59-58 with 8 seconds left. Oxford only needed a bucket - any bucket - to win this time.
The ball went back to Hillard and he was double-teamed. He still proceeded to drive down the right hand side to maybe draw a foul on the layup attempt.
He threw it up despite a third Grenada player flying in knocking him down missing on the block as time expired and the ball went through the net. Chaos ensues as he is immediately surrounded by his teammates and nearby OHS Cheerleaders there after sinking the game-winning buzzer-beating shot to win 60-59 in overtime. (For the record - a whistle was blown for that foul but the free throw for the and-1 was not taken as time had expired on the play. Oxford, who would have benefited, had the lead)
This game was talked about for at least two weeks afterward. Two clutch plays were made in that game. OHS sinked three BIG free throws from a player that had not played much Varsity to that point and a big shot from the only Senior that decided to show up that night on a night where four starters got sick (I think) and could not play.
I wish I could put this higher than 6 but that just means there were 5 games that were THAT much better than this one, you are just going to have to wait and see.
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