Boys basketball: Harrell sinks game-winner for Aurora Christian
By Mike Knapp For Sun-Times Media January 25, 2013 11:04PM
Updated: January 26, 2013 12:24AM
Aurora Christian guard Johnathan Harrell couldn’t remember if he’d ever hit a game-winning shot before, but the one he drilled Friday night against St. Francis is one that will stick in his mind for a long time.
Trailing by two points and with the clock winding down, Harrell took a pass from Zach Singer in the deep left corner right in front of his own bench, and his fallaway shot found nothing but the bottom of the net just before the buzzer to give the Eagles a 54-53 win.
The junior finished with 14 points, but better yet for ACHS, his shot propelled the Eagles to their first Suburban Christian Conference win of the year after starting the league slate with six losses.
“I may have had a game-winning layup in like the sixth grade, but nothing like this,” Harrell said. “It’s a great feeling, and it was a great way to get our first conference win. Now we just need to keep it going to regionals.”
After suffering through a 24-point loss the last time the two teams met six weeks ago, the Eagles (11-9, 1-6) made 12 of their first 18 shots in the first half and took a 32-29 lead into the break. A three-pointer by Jason Pisarksi tied the game at 32-all at the start of the third quarter, and the two teams swapped the lead the rest of the night.
After Harrell hit a jumper early in the fourth quarter to give the Eagles a 41-37 lead, Andrew Kimball was a one-man 9-0 run for the Spartans (14-3, 6-2), draining three quick treys to put St. Francis up by five (46-41).
That lead was still at four (52-48) until Cory Windle nailed a three with 20 seconds left to draw the Eagles within one. On the other end, Pisarski made the front end of a one-and-one and ACHS took the ball back with 11.4 seconds to play.
The Spartans guarded the possession well, but Harrell’s shot was pure.
“It was great for our guys,” ACHS coach Pat McNamara said. “He looked confident out there and that’s who you want to get the ball to. Johnathan is a clutch player.
“We’re happy to get that win. You don’t want to get skunked (in the league). We just needed a game like this, and we need to start beating good teams.”
Kimball scored a game-high 15 points for the Spartans, while Harrell and Ryan Suttle had 14 each and Windle added 12 points and seven boards for ACHS.