Ken Northcut called for a game-winning shot from Tyler Garrott earlier in the senior’s career during a game at Middleton.
“I airballed that one,” Garrott said.
But after Ross Burcham’s tiebreaking putback with 10 seconds left, Trinity advanced the ball past halfcourt, called timeout and Garrott tapped his chest. Let’s try again.
The senior threw the ball in from in front of his bench, stepped in bounds and caught the return pass before drilling a game-winning 3-pointer from the right corner with three seconds left for a 43-42 district semifinal win over host Adamsville.
Several dozen TCA students behind him shouted happily, and they chanted T-C-A moments later after Adamsville’s final shot missed. Garrott’s only baskets Friday were the first and last scores of the game.
“I kind of stood there for a second. I couldn’t even believe it went in,” Garrott said.
The second seed Lions (21-8) advanced to play top seed Middleton in the District 15-A final, while third seed Adamsville (17-10) draws Madison and will have to travel for its opening regional game.
“That’s a play we work on, we go over, a couple times a week just for that situation,” Northcut said.
Garrott’s 3 trumped what would have been the game-defining play. Tucker Campbell missed the initial free throw in a 1-and-1 situation, but Burcham got free under the basket for a rebound and critical putback.
Campbell finished with 14 points and Burcham had eight. The road team won each of their three meetings this year, and the most recent was an Adamsville win in Jackson.
“Last time Tucker and Ross kind of wore us down, so we were really just trying to sag off and make other guys hit shots because they really killed us last time,” Garrott said.
The “other guy” who ended up hitting shots for the Cardinals was DaKorea Dilworth, who finished with 14. But neither team shot particularly well from the perimeter.
“I think the right people were taking them. I thought we were getting good looks,” Adamsville coach Nathaniel Root said. “It’s funny in games like this when the teams are so evenly matched how sometimes that rim tightens up a little bit for both teams.
“But give them all the credit in the world. Garrott hit a big shot there in the corner. That was my fault probably, not expecting them to go to him for that shot right there.”
Eli Parker scored 13 points for TCA. Garrott, James Bond and Thomas Harvey each added six for the Lions, who won’t have to travel for their regional quarterfinal game.
Jacques Gibson scored 10 points, Justin Morman nine and Steven Wright eight as a balanced Middleton team held off fourth seed Madison at Adamsville.
Marquese Parram led all scorers with 15 points for the Mustangs.
Craig Thomas, 425-9634