By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
With 28 seconds remaining and a one-point lead, the Glencoe boys basketball team just needed one stop to advance to the Northeast Regional Tournament finals.
Senior forward Cole Holbrooks had just sunk two free throws to give the Yellow Jackets a 62-61 advantage over New Hope, and Indian guard Campbell Everett settled for a 3-pointer on the following possession that clanked off the rim. New Hope secured the offensive rebound, however, and guard Omar Jolly reset the offense at the top of the key.
Jolly drove to the rim, and the Glencoe defense collapsed to prevent him from scoring an easy bucket. Jolly then kicked the ball out to teammate Jacob Maples – who was wide open in the corner – and Maples drained a 3-pointer with two seconds remaining that ended Glencoe’s season by a final score of 64-62.
“Coach (Todd Jeffers) always tells me to be ready for the ball, so I just spotted up,” Maples said. “I’m going to be confident with every shot. It just so happened that it won us the game.”
Glencoe head coach Jason Gilley said neither team could stop the other down the stretch.
“They couldn’t keep us from attacking the basket, and we couldn’t (keep) them there towards the end,” Gilley said. “That’s all it boils down to. They knocked down a couple outside shots to close the gap on us. There at the end of the ball game, the way they were attacking, we had to try and keep them from getting to the rim, and they kicked it out and the kid knocked it down.”
Glencoe (17-14) led 13-10 after the first quarter and extended the lead to 13 points at the half after Aaron Bush and Justin Barkley combined for three 3-pointers in the last two minutes of the quarter.
In the third quarter, Jolly started to take over, and he helped the Indians (22-8) cut the Jacket lead to 49-43 entering the final frame.
Jeffers said Jolly is “one of the best point guards in the state,” and his ability to create for himself and for his teammates led to the game-winning shot from Maples.
“I’m just super happy,” Jeffers said. “Super proud of these guys. I’m blessed to be a part of this program.”
Holbrooks finished with a game-high 27 points for Glencoe, while Barkley chipped in 17 points and nine rebounds. Bush scored all 10 of his points in the first half for the Yellow Jackets.
Jolly scored 26 points for the Indians, while Everett and Maples scored 13 points apiece. The Yellow Jackets held a 33-19 rebounding advantage but also turned the ball over seven times while only forcing two New Hope turnovers.
“I thought the guys played hard,” Gilley said. “It was one of those you hate to lose. Truthfully, you hate to see anybody lose that ball game. Both teams plated extremely well. At the end of the night, that’s the way it goes. These guys – really all the guys that played – did what they were supposed to. I couldn’t be more proud of them and the way they played.”
Gilley said he thought his team did a “great job all year” playing together.
“This group played extremely well together,” he said. “They were always looking for each other. I think that everything to do with their success that they did have. At the start of the season, nobody would’ve thought we’d be where we were. These guys did a great job all year. I hate to see it end.”
New Hope advanced to the Northeast Regional final to meet Plainview in a rematch of last year’s regional final. The Indians defeated the Bears, 62-59, last season to advance to the Final Four in Birmingham.