COLUMBIA TWP. — A game that looked like it would come down to which team would foul last turned into a classic case of which team would get the last shot.
After a back-and-forth foul-littered final minute, Keystone had a shot with 8.5 seconds left against Columbia in a battle of Patriot Athletic Conference contenders.
C.J. Conrad found Matt Bastock at the top of the arc and the senior drained the 3-pointer with no time left, sealing a wild 56-55 conference crossover win.
The shot was a bit of redemption for Bastock.
“Last year I missed a shot against Columbia at the end of the game to tie,” said Bastock, who finished with 10 points. “I had it in my head all week and I wasn’t going to let it happen again.”
Conrad, who had a big game with 13 points and 14 rebounds, managed to draw the Columbia defense to him on the last play, which left Bastock open for the game-winner.
“I saw Conrad driving and I tried to take a charge, but nobody’s really going to get a charge on that,” said Columbia’s Brandon Severo, who finished with a game-high 17 points. “I’ll take that on me. My fault for leaving the shooter open.”
Despite making the final shot, Keystone (12-5, 10-2) nearly gave the game away without getting a chance to play defense. A Wildcats turnover led to Conrad fouling Jay Banyasz on a jump shot. The free throws gave Columbia (14-3, 10-2) a 52-51 lead with 29 seconds left.
The Raiders got the ball back before Keystone could cross half-court. Six seconds later, Bastock committed an unnecessary foul on Kevin Simon when he pushed him to the ground on the opposite end of the court, giving Columbia possession.
The Wildcats sent Banyasz to the line quickly to preserve clock. The senior split the one-and-one, giving Keystone the ball with 15.7 seconds to go and trailing 53-51.
“I thought the officials did a great job, they really let us play throughout,” Keystone coach Jeff Holzhauer said. “It really gets tough in the fourth quarter, what do you call and what do you not call. They made a couple calls they didn’t call earlier, but I’m not going to argue that they weren’t fouls.”
Conrad took the inbounds pass and went coast-co-coast, driving strong to the bucket and converting a layup. Not only that, but he had the double whammy of getting fouled by Banyasz, sending him to the line with a shot to break the 53-53 tie.
The foul was Banyasz’s fifth, sending him and his 13 points and seven rebounds to the bench.
Conrad missed the free throw, but his brother, Austin, was whistled for a foul while fighting for the loose ball. That sent Severo to the line for a one-and-one, and he made both.
But the Wildcats still had one last shot, which Bastock made the most of.
“That whole last minute was kind of crazy with all the ups and downs,” Columbia coach Larry Babics said. “We had a couple of unfortunate defensive possessions, our last two really hurt us with some defensive breakdowns. Our guys made our free throws and did what they had to do, but they ended up making a play at the end to win it.”
Keystone’s Jacob Miller was the only reserve for either team to score, picking up six of his 10 points during a critical juncture for the Wildcats. Down 26-18, the junior forward scored three straight field goals to put Keystone on a 6-0 run to end the half. The Wildcats promptly tied the game out of the locker room and neither team trailed by more than five the rest of the way.
“Jake was huge for us,” Holzhauer said. “Sometimes it’s hard to find him the amount of minutes that he deserves just because we like to get out and pressure and do some different things defensively. But offensively we’re best when Jacob is in there, he’s a force.”
Columbia did a good job of limiting Austin Conrad, who was held without a field goal and finished with one point. However, he was second on the team with six rebounds and had eight assists. The Conrad brothers accounted for 20 of Keystone’s 28 rebounds.
“Columbia is a very good defensive team,” C.J. Conrad said. “Austin is a good player, he got a little cold there for awhile, but he played really great. When he attacks like that, everyone is clamping down on him.”
Contact Chris Sweeney at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Keystone 56, Columbia 55
KEYSTONE (56): Brandon Kuhl 5-0-10, Austin Conrad 0-1-1, C.J. Conrad 6-1-13, K.J. Williams 5-0-12, Matt Bastock 4-0-10, Jacob Miller 4-2-10, Collin Fitzgerald 0-0-0, Marcus Gunter 0-0-0. Totals 24-4-56.
COLUMBIA (55): Jay Banyasz 3-7-13, David Delahunty 6-0-15, Kevin Simon 2-0-5, Brandon Severo 5-3-17, Michael Boey 2-0-5, Brian Hershey 0-0-0, Cody Shields 0-0-0, Josh Gibson 0-0-0. Totals 18-10-55.
Keystone 10 14 16 16 — 56
Columbia 17 9 14 15 — 55
Three-point goals: Keystone 4-10 (Williams 2, Bastock 2), Columbia 9-27 (Severo 4, Delahunty 3, Boey, Simon). Field goals: Keystone 24-53 (45 percent), Columbia 18-41 (44 percent). Free throws: Keystone 4-7 (57 percent), Columbia 10-13 (77 percent). Rebounds: Keystone 28 (C.J. Conrad 14), Columbia 24 (Banyasz 7, Delahunty 7). Total fouls: Keystone 11, Columbia 11. Fouled out: Banyasz. Turnovers: Keystone 10, Columbia 10.
Junior varsity: Keystone, 41-32