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Bartlett players (from left) Mitch Reid, Billy Kramer and Justin Busch celebrate their overtime win against Waubonsie Valley on Saturday. | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
Bartlett’s Billy Kramer scored only four points Saturday night, but two of them couldn’t have been bigger.
The 6-foot-2 senior forward caught a perfect dish along the baseline from guard Justin Busch, rose and fired through a 13-footer with 1.5 seconds left for the points that finally beat Waubonsie Valley 58-56 in a triple-overtime thriller at Bartlett in Upstate Eight Valley play.
“Give that kid a ton of credit, that’s big time,” Waubonsie Valley coach Steve Weemer said. “That’s what you want as a high school player as a memory is to step up and hit a big shot to win the game.”
The Hawks (6-2, 3-0) set up the winning play for Jon Moss to take the shot. He had hit three three-pointers to start the second half and scored 16 points for the game. Their leading scorer on the season, UIC-bound Lance Whitaker, had already fouled out with 16 points in the third overtime, and had missed one at the end of the second overtime.
But Moss was covered, so Busch drove the lane as coach Jim Wolfsmith had instructed during a timeout. There he found Kramer to his left for the assist on the game-winner.
“I give our team a lot credit because we didn’t rebound that well, and we didn’t shoot free throws well, but we battled back to win,” Kramer said.
Kramer’s only other basket had come during the fourth quarter.
“Billy is an excellent mid-range jump shooter,” Wolfsmith said. “So him on the baseline, I’ll take that shot amongst any of the guys on my team.”
Bartlett let a 19-2 lead out of the gates slip away, then regained command with a 6-0 run starting the third quarter, but lost the lead briefly again in the first overtime. The Hawks had the last real shot at winning it in each overtime.
The Hawks gained their fourth straight win despite 25 points and six rebounds from Santa Clara-bound guard Jared Brownridge. It was Brownridge who scored 10 of Waubonsie Valley’s 12 points in the three overtime sessions.
“Waubonsie Valley never goes away, especially with Brownridge,” Moss said. “We never overlooked them. We knew we had to keep playing. You know, a team like that won’t go away.”
Bryan Jefferson, who had 16 points and seven rebounds, scored the final four points of regulation to rally the Warriors (5-3, 1-2) from a 44-40 deficit in the closing minute. The teams were tied at 44 to end regulation, 49 after overtime, and 53 after the second overtime.
Weemer took his entire starting lineup off the floor at the start when the Warriors fell behind 19-2, then put them back and they rallied for a 21-20 lead in the second quarter before going in tied 23-23 at halftime.
“They (Bartlett) started the game ready to play and we didn’t,” Weemer said. “So I let our guys try to figure out a way to play through it and I took them all out.
“We just missed too many free throws and committed too many turnovers to win it.”