The Saline varsity basketball team trailed Jackson, 43-42. There were 27 seconds left in the game.
Saline Head Coach Jacob Fosdick called a timeout when junior forward Anthony Ferarri grabbed an offensive rebound after missing the first shot of a one-and-one free throw, with two Jackson High School Vikings’ players surrounding him, grabbing at the ball.
With the game hanging in the balance, Fosdick said senior guards Griffin “Lightning” Yaklich and Trevor “Thunder” Arico, proclaimed, “It’s winning time, get us the ball.”
And that is exactly what Coach Fosdick did. Arico in-bounded the ball with an alley-oop pass to Yaklich, who was positioned under the basket. Yaklich turned and sank a short jumper to lift the Hornets to a 44-43 lead with :20 seconds left.
The Vikings used the remaining seconds to push the ball down the court and got off a jump shot which hit off the rim. Senior forward Tyler Belskus tipped the rebound up, and then tipped it two more times to run the final seconds off the clock, securing the win.
The Hornets and Vikings were evenly matched. Both teams played a rough, physical game. The defense was stifling at times. Every shot was contested.
The Hornets jumped out to a 3-0 lead at the 5:26 mark of the opening quarter. Jackson then rattled off the next ten points before Ferrari hit a three-pointer with :33 seconds left to cut the Viking lead to 12-6 at the end of one.
Arico scored ten of his game high 22 points in the second quarter. In the first two minutes, Arico created some thunder inside the Saline High School gym by hitting two three-point shots, to cut the Vikings’ lead to 16-12. Junior forward Nathan Holmberg hit another three to cut the Jackson lead to 19-15.
Arico scored another three points to cut the Jackson lead to 24-19 before Yaklich ended the first half with a dunk which brought the Saline student section to their feet. The Hornets headed into the locker room at the half trailing 24-21.
The second half brought more of the same. Both teams played very aggressively on defense. It was Thunder and Lightning, Arico and Yaklich, who scored all ten of Saline’s third quarter points. Jackson was up 34-31 heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Arico pulled the Hornets into a 34-34 tie seven seconds into the quarter sinking a three pointer from the top of the key. At the 5:09 mark Yaklich drove to the basket for a lay-up, putting the Hornets in the lead, 36-34 for the first time since early in the first quarter.
Belskus hit a three-point shot from the corner to give Saline a 39-38 lead. A key moment in the game came with 2:13 left. Arico received a pass from junior guard Jaden Pickett and turned and fired a shot from three-point range. Arico was fouled in the act of shooting.
Trailing 40-39, Arico calmly stepped up to the free throw line and sank all three shots, giving the Hornets a 42-40 lead, setting the stage for the dramatic finish to the game.
Following the game, Saline Head Coach Jake Fosdick had good things to say about his team.
“I thought we played good defense the entire game. It seemed like the start of the game, Jackson’s big guy scored no matter where he took the shot from. We adjusted and did better defending him as the game went on,” Fosdick said.
“Everybody contributed to this win,” Fosdick continued. “It is important that we play in close games and learn how to win close games. The game tonight taught us a lot about how to win games like this.”
With the win, Saline upped its record to 3-1 on the season. They will get back into action in the High School Basketball Showcase Event at Belleville High School on Saturday. Tip off time is scheduled for 3:40 p.m.
The Saline Post Three Stars:
1st Star: Trevor “Thunder” Arico (22 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist)
2nd Star: Griffin “Lightning” Yaklich (13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists)
3rd Star: Anthony Ferrari (3 points, 6 rebounds including 4 offensive rebounds)