BROOKVILLE, Pa. – Clayton Cook’s desperation heave from about 27 feet out as the horn sounded found nothing but net, as Brookville beat Seton LaSalle, 46-43, in overtime in the opening round of the PIAA Class 3A playoffs at Brookville High School.
Cook took a pass on the bench side of the court from Noah Peterson, who was doubled-teamed in the corner, with 1.2 seconds left, and threw up the shot, which left his hands just as the clock ticked under one second to play. The horn sounded with the ball in midflight, and when it went through the hoop a wild celebration occurred with the Brookville student section rushing the floor.
“Honestly, not a lot was going through my mind,” Cook said. “I looked up at the clock when Noah had the ball in the corner, and I just screamed his name. I saw he was doubled and no one was on me. I was probably the only one who could get something off at that point. (It) was a little bit of a prayer, but it felt good leaving my hands so I just kind of watched it.”
Watch it indeed.
As the ball swished through the hoop, Cook jumped high into the air and was greeted by teammate Jack Pete, who had fouled out of the game with just under two minutes to play the score tied at 23.
They were quickly joined by the rest of the Raiders and a lot of the students.
“I kind of just paused for a second,” Cook said. “I was like did that really just happen? Then I saw everyone storming and I just started jumping up and down. It was crazy.”
When Brookville called a timeout with 16.6 seconds to play, the plan wasn’t to have Cook, the Raiders’ inside force, take a 27-foot shot as time expired.
“It was supposed to be a down screen for Clayton,” Brookville head coach Dalton Park said. “If he got it at the foul line and had the shot take it. If he had to drive, take it. If he didn’t have the drive, at least take a dribble and try to someone in and kick to either corner. I am not exactly sure how it went south, but somehow we dribbled up to the corner. We got it to Clayton, and he knew the time was down and kind of turned. There was some shot in it. It wasn’t just a throw up. The rest is awesome for him in front of this crowd.”
From Peterson’s perspective, he wasn’t sure how Cook got the shot off.
“I was double teamed so I (knew) couldn’t get the shot off and get a clean shot,” Peterson said. “We were going to go into overtime again. I passed it, and I glanced at the clock. It said 1.1 on it, and I was like there is no way he is getting this off. He just caught it and immediately shot it, and it went in.
“He started running, and I just started running with him and then there was a big doggie pile. Everyone was on top of us. It was just awesome.”
Four minutes earlier Cook had a chance to be the hero at the end of regulation, but his 3-pointer was off the mark sending the game to overtime tied at 41.
“The shot before (at the end of regulation felt really good when I was open and actually in range,” Cook said.
In overtime, Seton LaSalle (14-12), the fifth-place team out of the WPIAL, took a 43-41 lead when Ian March hit two free throws with 2:45 to play. Those shots came after the Rebels rebounded a missed free throw by March with 3:04 left.
“I am not sure what they outrebounded us by, but I am pretty sure it was pretty bad,” Park said.
Cook tied the game 30 seconds later with a layup, but Pete fouled out soon after that.
But Connor Spratt, Seton LaSalle’s best player, missed the front end of a one-and-one before the Rebels were able to get the rebound and call timeout with just over 1:20 to play.
But on the inbound play, Brookville forced an errant pass that was picked off by Cook leading to a Raiders’ timeout with 1:14 left.
“It goes to our defense,” Park said. “Everyone playing together. They work hard. Everybody does. Nobody wanted to lose that game.”
After the timeout, the Raiders (23-2) were able to hold the ball until calling timeout with 16.6 seconds left setting up the Cook game-winning shot.
Brookville’s defense gave it a chance to get the game to overtime after the Raiders fell behind 34-28 on a basket by March a minute into the fourth quarter.
That’s when Brookville went to the full-court press and quickly scored six straight points to tie the game at 34 on a Kellan Haines bucket with 5:19 to play.
“We definitely have the guys who can do that type of stuff,” Cook said. “We didn’t really do it until we needed to. When we put the pressure on, we got a lot of momentum. The crowd was crazy. That is the loudest I have ever heard it here before. That really helped.”
According to Park, the Raiders just believed it was the right time to put the press on.
“At that point in time, we thought was to risk it, time to try it,” Park said. (Spratt) was a little tired. We just felt it was the right time to try it.”
What the press gave, it also took away as March scored on a fastbreak to put the Rebels back ahead, 36-34, with five minutes left.
The score stayed that way until Peterson drilled a 3-pointer from the corner with 3:40 to go to give Brookville a 37-36 lead, its first lead since the first half.
Pete then scored to make it 39-36, but Spratt answered with 2:44 left making it 39-38.
Peterson put the Raiders back up three, 41-38, with 2:07 to go, but Spratt hit a long 3-pointer from the top of the circle with 1:08 left to tie the game at 41.
“He has a step back, he can do a little bit of everything,” Park said. “He was hitting threes with the stepbacks.”
The game was close throughout with Brookville leading 13-11 at the end of the first quarter but trailing 22-20 at halftime and 32-28 going to the fourth quarter.
“We had a week off,” Peterson said.”I felt we started slow, and we were only down two in the first half. We played C-plus basketball, and we need to play a B-plus or A game to win this game. I think our second half, we played that.”
Watch Cook and Peterson in the postgame interview.
Cook led Brookville with 17 points with Haines adding 11 and Peterson seven.
Spratt had a game-high 22 points for SetonLaSalle with March scoring nine.
Brookville will face Neshannock in the second round Wednesday, March 15, at a site and time to be announced.