BLUFFTON — Bank it.
Lincolnview’s Zane Miller may not have yelled that out loud but his 25-foot, 3-pointer near the top of the key that hit the backboard and the bottom of the net with .09 seconds on the clock gave the Lancers a big 55-52 overtime win in a key Northwest Conference battle Friday night.
With the win, the Lancers improve to 6-5 overall and 2-1 in the NWC. Bluffton, which suffered its third straight loss, falls to 8-3 on the season and 2-1 in conference action.
Lincolnview head coach Brett Hammons said even though this was only the third NWC game it was crucial to get the win and stay in the title hunt and they achieved that goal.
“Bluffton is a tough team and it is a tough place to play,” Hammons said. “We knew how big it was for us. We were 1-1 in the conference and we knew if wanted to win it (conference) this was a big one.”
Miller finished the night with 11 points while teammates Kyle Wallis and Ethan Kemler added 10 points each.
“Both teams competed the right way,” Bluffton head coach Todd Boblitt said. “Both teams fought hard and it was anybody’s game and Miller hits a big three and banks it in and that is the way it ends.”
Defense dictated much of the action throughout the game as both teams struggled to find a consistent offensive rhythm.
After the first half, Bluffton owned a 29-25 lead and after three quarters, Bluffton held a slim 38-37 lead. Seven points was the largest lead Bluffton had in the game and Lincolnview’s largest lead at any point in the game was three.
In the thrilling final stanza and overtime, the lead changed hands or the score was tied eight times.
In the overtime period, the two teams battled back and forth and with 44 seconds left, Lincolnview held a 52-50 lead but a Mason Soper bucket tied the score with 20 seconds left setting up Miller’s heroics.
For the Pirates, Luke Denecker had a game-high 25 points and Soper added 13 points.
“We didn’t shoot it the greatest tonight but our defense kept us in it and I thought we made enough plays down the stretch to win it,” Hammons said. “Luke is a heck of a player, and he scored 25 but I thought we contested all his shots.”
Hammons added that his role players also helped the Lancers secure the win.
“It is a tough loss for our guys,” said Boblitt who said the team right now is looking for that winning formula that carried it in the first eight games.
“We have to come back and play tomorrow so we have to have a short term memory,” Boblitt said. “We talk that there are going to be highs and lows every season and right now we are in a low, and I think if our guys stay consistent we are going to be fine.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.