It took the greatest comeback in school history for Peoria Liberty to improve to 11-4, the best start the boys basketball team has ever had.
Down 49-43 with 45 seconds left and Phoenix Sunnyslope at the line to shoot a 1-and-1, Liberty scored the final eight points, capped by a steal at Sunnyslope’s end of the court, a pass and a layup with three seconds to play for a 51-49 victory at home on Friday night.
“It was pretty incredible,” Liberty coach Mark Wood said. “Both teams played extremely hard.
“Proud of our guys for playing until the final buzzer.”
After Sunnyslope missed the front end of the 1-and-1, Jacob Svornic scored on the other end on a drive to cut it to 49-45 with 30 seconds left.
Sunnyslope, unable to inbound it, was called for a five-second violation with 28 seconds left.
Cole Troutt then scored on a drive to make it 49-47 with 23 seconds to play.
Again, Liberty forced Sunnyslope to call timeout after a player got trapped in the corner on an inbounds.
Sunnyslope got to the line again for another 1-and-1 and missed the front end.
Matthew Edahl was fouled driving down the middle of the lane with 11 seconds left.
After he made both free throws to tie it at 49, Sunnyslope got the ball down to its end of the basket, before Dustin Troutt stole the ball from behind. He quickly got the ball out to Svornic for the game-winning layup.
Sunnyslope forced an off-balance midcourt shot at the end that banked off the backboard and the Liberty student section erupted.
“Our guys are playing true to our philosophy: play tough, play smart, play together and have fun,” Wood said.
Go to the 1:23 mark to watch the comeback on the Peoria Student Broadcasting Network: