It wasn't quite the play Dickinson Trinity coach Gregg Grinsteinner drew up in the huddle, but it still accomplished the desired result.
Tied at 54 with 12.3 seconds remaining in regulation, the Titans put the ball in the hands of their senior leading scorer Jacob Volk.
With the final seconds ticking off the clock, the 6-foot-3 guard found himself well beyond the 3-point line with his back to the basket. Volk faded away from 30 feet and knocked down a last-second prayer with two defenders in his face to give the Titans a 57-54 victory over Rugby in the state tournament consolation championship on Saturday at the Minot State University Dome.
Dickinson Trinity senior Jacob Good backs down Rugby defender Kyle Halvorson during the fifth-place game of the Class B state basketball tournament Saturday at the Minot State University Dome.
"That wasn't even close to how we drew it up," Volk said. "I felt like it was going to miss by three feet, but luckily it went in."
Less than a minute before Volk's game-winner, it appeared that Rugby's Brad Heidlebaugh was going to be the hero after knocking down his only 3-point attempt to pull the Panthers even at 54. Heidlebaugh notched a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Rugby coach Mike Santjer made a defensive adjustment during the ensuing timeout, hoping to send the game into overtime. The defense had its desired effect, eliminating any clean looks for the Panthers, yet Volk still found a way to end the game in regulation.
"We decided to go 1-3-1 zone thinking we might catch them off guard with 12 seconds left," Santjer said. "We figured Volk was going to get the ball. We did a pretty good job, it just so happened he made a tough shot on us."
Volk finished with a game-high 18 points, hitting three of Rugby's four 3s.
The Titans (24-3) played from behind throughout the first half, trailing 26-24 at halftime. Trinity took its first lead of the game in the opening minute of the third quarter when senior guard Alex Binstock knocked down a 3 from the corner.
Trinity held the lead throughout the bulk of the second half. Rugby senior forward Kyle Lovcik gave the Panthers a brief 42-41 lead before the Titans regained the advantage on senior forward Isiah Binstock's third quarter buzzer-beater.
"That's what high school basketball is all about," Grinsteinner said. "Both teams really played hard. A back-and-forth game like that, I thought both teams really executed and just laid it on the floor."
Isiah Binstock recorded a double-double, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Lovcik led the Panthers with 15 points and also grabbed eight rebounds.
After Trinity dropped its state opener, Grinsteinner said he was happy with the team's resiliency.
"They could have hung their heads, but I thought they really represented our school, our town and our region really well," he said. "That's a credit to our seniors and the maturity level they have."
Neither team stretched its lead to more than five points. Rugby led 22-17 midway through the second quarter for its largest advantage of the game and Trinity took a 47-42 lead in the opening minutes of the fourth.
The Panthers settled for sixth place, finishing their season 25-3.
"They worked their tail off," Santjer said. "They did everything they possibly could to try and win that game. No heads are hanging. It's just one of those things where a kid made a great shot at a great time."
Skyhawks end season on positive note
The Shiloh Christian boys basketball team may have lost its first two games of the state tournament, but the Skyhawks can say they ended their season with a victory after defeating Cavalier 69-61 in the seventh-place game on Saturday at the MSU Dome.
Shiloh's Donovan Lambert finished with a team-high 23 points, adding four rebounds and three assists. Lambert was one of four Skyhawks to finish in double figures.
Tied at 25 at the end of the first half, Shiloh outscored Cavalier by 14 in the third quarter to take a 53-39 lead heading into the final frame. The Skyhawks shot 54.2 percent from the field in the second half.
Neither team had much success from behind the arc as Shiloh went 7-of-27 and Cavalier 2-of-15.
Ryan Chrest led the Tornadoes with 23 points and Spencer Robbins recorded a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds.