On the biggest stage of his young career, Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI sophomore Kevin Dorsey hit the biggest shot of his life on Friday.
With the final seconds ticking down in a tie game in the semifinals of the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions, Dorsey knocked down a 17-foot jumper that put his Panthers in the finals with a 52-50 victory over Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco.
“This is the greatest feeling of my life,” Dorsey said. “Frank (Howard) made a good pass and I just stepped into it with confidence and knocked it down.”
During a timeout with 18.8 seconds left, Paul VI coach Glenn Farello called a play for sophomore center Marcus Derrickson, but the ball eventually found Dorsey.
“We wanted to make sure we took the last shot,” Farello said. “We were looking for Marcus again, but they did a good job of taking him away.
“I had two sophomore guards out there and they made the right decisions.”
The ball moved from Howard around to Dorsey, who was unguarded on the left wing for the shot as time expired.
“Kevin stepped right into that jump shot and I was really proud because he could have taken a 3,” Farello said. “He’s very effective from 15 to 17 feet and he shot it with confidence and I’m really happy for him.”
Paul VI trailed Bosco by five points with 2:07 left, but the Panthers scored the final seven points to win.
A driving layup along the right baseline from junior Evan Taylor with 1:46 left cut the Bosco lead to 50-47. After a missed front end of a 1-and-1 by Bosco, Paul VI tied the game with a 3 from Derrickson from the left baseline with 1:05 left.
“Coach kept telling us that defense was going to win the game,” Dorsey said. “We had a couple breakdowns but everybody got back into the flow of the game and we were able to pull it out.”
Bosco again missed the front end of a 1-and-1 on its next possession before Dorsey’s game-winner.
“Fortunately our free throw defense was good tonight, because they weren’t able to make a couple of free throws down the stretch,” Farello said. “I thought we did a great job of showing poise late in the game.”
Derrickson led Paul VI with 17 points and 11 rebounds, Howard added 10 points and Dorsey finished with seven points, five rebounds and five assists.
Senior Isaac Hamilton, a signee with the University of Texas-El Paso, led Bosco with a game-high 19 points and had five boards, three assists and three steals.
Sophomore Daniel Hamilton chipped in 12 points on 5 of 8 shooting from the field and had three assists.
Paul VI (12-4) will play Montverde (Fla.) (20-0) in the title game today at 8:30 p.m. at JQH Arena.
Bosco (13-4) will face Nixa (13-2) for third place at today at 6:30 p.m.