By Beau Wicker
---- — FULTON — Caston’s boys basketball team rallied for a big win over Class 3A Maconaquah on Thursday night.
Dustin Offenberger knocked down the game-winning shot with 17 seconds left to go to lift the Comets to a 53-52 win over the Braves.
The Comets improved to 10-7 and they are 9-1 on their home court. The Braves dropped to 4-10.
With the Comets trailing by one, Quentin Douglass drove and found Offenberger open from 16 feet for the game-winner.
“Quentin made a great pass and I was just feeling it and shot it and it went in,” said Offenberger, who scored a game-high 22 points in the win. “It’s definitely a key victory for us because we haven’t played a lot of great teams. They’re a really good team and that was just a big win for us.”
Following Offenberger’s basket, Wyatt Hughes, the Braves’ 6-foot-6 freshman center, got the ball on the right block but his shot attempt went halfway down before bouncing out. Douglass got the rebound and was fouled with 1.7 seconds left. He missed the front end of a 1-and-1. K.J. Walton rebounded and called timeout with 0.8 seconds left for the Braves. Walton caught an inbounds pass near the top of the key and his turnaround 3-point attempt bounced off the backboard and rim as time expired.
The Braves led throughout the entire first three quarters but never by more than nine points. They led 31-25 at halftime before Caston cut the lead to 42-41 after three.
The Comets took their first lead, 47-44, on Offenberger’s fourth 3 of the game with 5:50 remaining. The rest of the game was back and forth until Offenberger’s game-winner.
Brayton Jellison had 15 points and five rebounds, and Douglass added nine points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
None of Douglass’ assists were bigger than on the game-winning shot.
“I’ll give Quentin credit. It’s hard when you’re the best player on the team to pass up a game-winner, and that’s what he did and I think that’s a testament to the team and the bonding,” Caston coach J.R. Howell said. “He kicks it out to an open guy who hits the 15-footer for the win. I think that’s a testament for how the team is coming together and having confidence in each other.”
The Caston coach was also happy to see Offenberger have such a good shooting night.
“He’s starting to play pretty well right now. He’s on a hot streak. We just keep juicing him with confidence, and that shot right there, hopefully that can propel him to being an even more confident player,” he said.
Walton had 15 points and Adam Harts and Hughes scored 14 apiece to lead the Braves. Hughes added 12 rebounds and Walton had seven boards and five assists.
“They’re a very tough team,” Howell said. “They’re big, they’re physical, they’re quick, they’re athletic. I thought we handled and played discipline defense about the best we can.”
And of course Howell was happy to see Hughes’ shot roll off the rim in the closing seconds.
“I think my heart kind of stopped on that one,” he said. “But Brayton did a great job on him. I think that was one of his best post defensive games he’s played, and he turns around and scores 15 on the other end. Talk about an all-around game.”
Caston takes a 3-1 Midwest Conference record into Saturday afternoon’s home game against North White.