Caston’s boys basketball team ran the “Valpo play” to perfection at the end of the game to defeat North White 47-44 Saturday afternoon in Fulton.
The play was made famous by Bryce Drew’s shot that catapulted Valparaiso to a Sweet 16 run in 1998.
The Comets and the Vikings were tied at 44-all with 2.8 seconds left. Alex Howdeshell threw the inbounds pass to Brayton Jellison. Two defenders ran to Quentin Douglass, and Jellison found Dustin Offenberger open near the volleyball line. Offenberger’s shot was pure from 30 feet and the Comets were able to celebrate the big win.
“I don’t know how Brayton saw that Dustin was open,” Caston coach J.R. Howell said. “As soon as it left his hands you could tell it was good.”
It was Offenberger’s second game winner in as many games. The junior guard hit a 16-footer that lifted the Comets past Maconaquah on Thursday.
“It’s ironic that we haven’t gone over situations until Tuesday this week: being down three with 20 seconds left, down two with 20 seconds left,” Howell said. “Both games this week came down to end-of-game situations. In practice we weren’t close on any of them.”
The Comets stormed back from an 11-point deficit in the final four minutes. They had a hot start to the game, jumping out to a quick 12-4 lead, before going cold until the final stretch of the game.
“We gutted it out,” Howell said.
Jellison led the Comets with 16 points. Offenberger finished with 11, eight in the fourth quarter after battling foul trouble the entire game. He made 1 of 2 free throws to tie it late in the final minute.
Quentin Douglass had seven points, Eli Douglass scored six and Howdeshell added four.
Caston (11-7, 4-1 Midwest Conference) remained in the hunt for the conference title and improved to 10-1 at home, where the sectional happens to be this year. North White dropped to 8-8 and 2-4 in the MWC.
The Comets also completed their fourth straight season unbeaten in conference home games. They host Taylor on Tuesday for their regular-season home finale.
Drake Fleck and Luke Diener had 10 points apiece to lead the Vikings.
Pioneer 45, W. Central 30
Pioneer recorded its second win of the season against a veteran West Central squad on the road.
“We’re getting better, that’s for sure,” said Pioneer coach Austin Cowley, whose squad improved to 2-13 and 1-4 in the MWC. West Central dropped to 5-10 and 2-4.
Caleb Kindley led the Panthers with 14 points, followed by Chad Clifford (9), Zach Mason (8), Brad Biggs (6), Sam Kiser (4), J.P. Smith (2) and Keith Nies (2).
The Panthers led 24-16 at halftime and 37-22 after three.
“It’s a huge win for us,” Cowley said. “We were able to be patient offensively and took as long as we needed to find the shot we wanted. Caleb Kindley was big for us. Every time they got it to single digits he got a big basket for us. Chad Clifford hit two big 3s in a row in the second quarter that widened the lead.
“Defensively we did a great job of keeping them off the offensive boards. It was just an all-around effort. All seven guys that played scored. We had played well the last three weeks and it all came together today.”
Drew McKay led the Trojans with 16 points.
Cass 73, Wabash 53
The Class 2A No. 10 Kings cruised to their 12th win in a row at Wabash.
Austin Keisling had 19 points to lead the way. Ryan Bixler scored 14 and Owen Ohman and Victor DeJesus added nine apiece.
Cass (14-2) led by as much as 30 early in the fourth quarter. Wabash dropped to 6-9.
Cass travels to Delphi on Monday and Carroll on Tuesday for two makeup games.