Saline senior Tyler Belskus put back an offensive rebound just before the buzzer sounded, lifting Saline to a 49-47 victory over Skyline.
(Steven Sheldon will have the full report Saturday)
With the game tied at 47 and 4.2 seconds remaining, Anthony Ferrari inbounded the ball to Griffin Yaklich, who dished to Belskus, who gave it back to Yaklich.
Yaklich's shot was short and bounced off the rim. Belskus rebounded the ball at put it back in as the buzzer sounded. Within seconds, the team was mobbed by a happy student section on the court.
Belskus described the celebration as crazy.
The Hornets have played tough against good teams throughout the year, but often find themselves playing catch-up and never quite getting over the hump. It was a different story Friday night. Belskus was asked how the Hornets managed to pull this one out.
"Just everyone sticking together. We all pushed together and passed and trusted each other and that's all it took," Belskus said.
Saline improved to 9-7 overall. Saline won three of its final four SEC Red contests to finish with a 5-5 conference record. It was the kind of victory the Hornets were looking for.
"It's huge. It's an energy boost, a confidence boost, for our guys to make big-time plays at the end of a game," Saline head coach Jacob Fosdick said.
With the playoffs just weeks away, the Hornets were looking for the kind of game that could help spark some playoff magic. Last year, Saline defeated Adrian, 41-40, in overtime. Players and coaches credited that victory for galvanizing the team a strong district tournament in which they upset Huron and Pioneer and then eventual state-champ Lincoln on the ropes in the fourth quarter of the district final.
"You always want to be playing well at this time of year. Kind of like last year at Adrian, a moment like that can mean more than just won win," Fosdick said.
Yaklich led the Hornets with 14 points and also had a great game on the boards. Belksus scored 10 points. Trevor Arico scored nine points. Derek Caldwell (eight points) and Jaden Pickett (six points) each hit two three-pointers - each hitting big threes in the second half. Anthony Ferrari scored two points.