WILMINGTON – Jordan Money wasn’t supposed to inbound the ball.
The clock was ticking under 10 seconds after Tim Farley’s long 3-pointer pulled Wilmington Friends within one point against St. Elizabeth in overtime on Saturday. Nate Thomas was going to inbound for the Vikings, but Money did it instead and fired a long pass to David Hazelton for the clinching layup in a thrilling, 64-61 win at the St. E Center.
“Nate Thomas just yelled at [Money] in the locker room. He was supposed to take the ball out,” Hazelton said with a laugh. “But Jordan hopped in and threw me that pass.
“I’m not a person who gets in that situation too much. I just wanted to catch the ball and seal the game. … When I saw nobody else was coming around me, I said, ‘Might as well get the two points.’”
The come-from-behind victory put a good finish on a tough week for the Vikings (10-7), who lost at St. Mark’s on Tuesday and at No. 1 Smyrna on Thursday.
“This is a game we would have lost a week ago,” Hazelton said. “We had a big coming together meeting of the starters this past week. We kind of just let it all out with the coaching staff. We talked, had a good back and forth.
“We really felt like we came together. We played a real great team game, never got nervous, never got down, and we got the win.”
It was tied at 11 after one quarter. Then St. E turned up the defense, as Hazelton converted Elijah Dockery’s assist and closed the first half with a steal and layup for a 26-19 lead.
The Vikings took a 40-32 advantage into the fourth quarter, only to see the Quakers (10-7) quickly rally behind Jordan Perkins. The 6-foot-3 senior did it all during a 13-3 run, getting steals, rebounds, assists and scores. Perkins passed to Maxwell Okolo for a layup that pushed Friends ahead 45-43 with 4:02 to play.
“We took call of the ball, which meant we got better shots,” Friends coach Chris Loeffler said of his team’s burst. “And they didn’t get any easy ones on the other end.”
It was back and forth from there, with Dockery banking in a shot in the lane to tie it at 51 with 11.8 seconds to play. Then the Quakers missed a driving layup under pressure, and Thomas’ 65-foot heave barely missed at the buzzer to send it into overtime.
It was tied at 58 when Perkins, who finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds, fouled out with 1:55 left in OT.
“It makes it tough when your best offensive player goes out,” Loeffler said. “But the guys who were in there did a great job. They stuck with it, they stayed with our game plan, and we had a chance.”
Justin Money passed to his older brother, Jordan, for a layup. Then senior guard Eric Hicks stepped in front of a Friends pass and turned it into a St. E layup for a 62-58 lead with 46 seconds to go.
“I just saw the guy getting ready to pass it,” Hicks said. “They were doing the same thing every time. I just said, ‘I’m gonna time it.’ I knew he was going to pass it. Once he looked my way, I just put my hand up and got the ball.”
The Quakers were still down four when Farley’s long 3-pointer – his fourth of the game – went in to make it a one-point game with 10 seconds left. Then Jordan Money threw the long pass that clinched it.
“Nate told me to just wait a couple of seconds before I picked the ball up, take it out,” Money said. “I was waiting, was going to use the five seconds, but I just saw Dave wide open.”
The Vikings had balanced scoring, with 13 points each from Thomas and Hazelton and 12 points each from Jordan Money and Dockery. Farley scored 15 for Friends.
Contact Brad Myers at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ.