Jon Littere may not have been the first choice but he turned out to be the correct one.
Littere scored off an inbounds play with 58 seconds left in regulation and that turned out to be the the game-winning basket as Wilson survived a back-and-forth battle with Niagara Wheatfield and posted a 59-55 non-league win on Tuesday night.
“I was the second pass so if it wasn’t going to my shooter it was going to me,” he said. “I’m just happy I made the shot.”
The shot was a differnce-maker in a roller-coaster game. Wilson came out strong, leading 13-2 right off the bat. But the Falcons kept chipping away and eventually caught up and even grabbed the lead before Wilson had a final answer.
“We found a way to make it interesting. But that was just a good high school boys basketball game,” Wilson coach Brett Sippel said. “Wheatfield showed a lot of guts coming back after they were down big in the first quarter. They showed how tough they are with that comeback.”
Wilson held a 31-19 lead at halftime but the Falcons came out flying in the second half and started the third quarter on a 12-1 run, closing within a point on back-to-back 3-point goals by Devon Ware and TJ Robinson with 3:21 left in the period. On two more occasions in the fourth quarter, Wheatfield hit a three to close to within one before the Falcons finally got over the hump on Zachary Stanley’s three-point play with 3:59 left.
Wheatfield built a lead as large as four down the stretch but Wilson battled back and regained the lead at 55-53 on a Jacob Miller 3-pointer; Smith immediately responded with a game-tying basket for Wheatfield.
Littere’s bucket broke the tie for good. Wheatfield wasn’t done battling but couldn’t hit from downdown as the Falcons tried for the lead and then tie from 3-point range.
“We just stuck together. We had to pick it up on the defensive end, we got a little sloppy,” said Wilson senior captain Steve Frerichs, who hit five big free throws in the final period to keep his team ahead. “But one thing is that our guys never put our heads down and we kept playing hard.”
Miller led Wilson (2-1) with 20 points, while Frerichs added 18 and Luke Bradley six for the Lakemen.
Robinson scored 14, while Smith and Ware tossed in 11 apiece for Niagara Wheatfield (0-1).
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