Kettle Run celebration
Kettle Run players celebrate after Tuesday night's dramatic 46-45 win over Skyline.

Kettle Run stuns Skyline with dramatic 46-45 victory

For the first 31 minutes and 56.9 seconds of Tuesday night’s Northwestern District battle against Skyline, the Kettle Run Cougars were 0-15 from three-point range.

Then, with 3.1 seconds left in the game and his team trailing by three, senior Conor Madigan caught a beautiful full court pass from junior Jacob Mulhearn, and banked one in while in motion to tie the game at 45.


Skyline then threw the ball away without it touching a player, giving Kettle Run a chance to win the game in regulation. Junior Case Roeber, who entered the game for the first time just seconds before, was then fouled on a three-point attempt. Roeber made the second free throw, and after a last-ditch shot by Skyline failed, the Cougars had a stunning, dramatic 46-45 victory.

“Today the basketball gods gave us that backboard bank shot to win,” said Kettle Run coach Demond Tapscott after the game. “Down the stretch we rallied around each other…that last play no matter who took that last shot, we believed we were going to win.”

It was definitely fortunate Madigan took that shot, though. While Madigan had missed his three long-range attempts prior, he had been the Cougars’ best offensive option thus far on the night.

Senior Conor Madigan (17 points) delivered the game-tying three-pointer with 3.1 seconds left.

“I was just thinking there’s not much time left on the clock, we’ve just got to get a shot,” said Madigan. “Jay [Mulhearn] threw me a good ball, I saw no one was in front of me, so I kind of just shot it…I was so happy…it’s crazy.”

The Cougars home crowd went crazy as well, anticipating overtime. But Kettle Run’s defense, which was especially good in the second half, forced Skyline’s errant in-bounds pass. Then Roeber, who had hardly played all night, received an in-bounds chance with a chance to win it.

“I am the shooter on the team, so I was expecting I may go in,” said Roeber. “When I got the call in I was kind of nervous, and then I got fouled on the shot and I was like, ‘oh no, I’ve got to make at least one of these.’ Missed the first one, I was like ‘oops,’ but the second one…it felt good.”

The victory felt good in general for Kettle Run (9-8, 9-8), who is starting to play very well after losing nine seniors from last year’s team and starting somewhat slow. The game Tuesday was a measure of the Cougars’ progress, as the Hawks had defeated Kettle Run 83-59 on December 15th.

“I knew what type of team we were this whole time,” said Tapscott, whose team has now won three games in a row. “I knew it was going to take time for our guys to start gelling together, but they’re starting to believe and understand…that we’re a contending team.”

The game had a playoff atmosphere with a good crowd. Skyline led most of the first half, but Kettle Run’s defense held Skyline to five third quarter points en route to a 33-29 lead going into the fourth. After Madigan found senior Sean Martin on a cut to the basket with 4:08 left in the game, the Cougars led 37-32, and Skyline took a timeout.

Sophomore Sean Richards’ offensive rebound and and-one putback cut the Skyline lead to 44-42.

The Hawks (9-4, 13-6) responded with a 12-2 run, mainly behind some solid play from junior forward Dwayne Tucker (20 points, 12 rebounds) inside. Down 44-39 Kettle Run missed a three-pointer, but sophomore Sean Richards delivered an offensive rebound and and-one follow to cut the lead to 44-42. Skyline then held the ball and Hawks senior Colby Wood was fouled. Even when Wood missed one of his free throws, the Hawks seemed in pretty good shape up 45-42.

This was Kettle Run’s memorable night in the end, however.

“It means a lot,” said Roeber of what the victory meant to his team. “We got beat by 30 last time, now three wins in a row, and I think we’re going to be a really good team in the future, and in the playoffs. I think we have a lot of potential.”

–Chris Jollay

all statistics are unofficial

WOOD 1-7 6-9  9  1  4
TUCKER 9-16 2-5  20  12  1
ABUL-QASIM 1-3 0-0  2  2  1
THORNE 1-7 1-2  4  3  1
FORD 3-5 1-4  7  5  1
Maxwell 0-1 0-0  0  3  0
Lockhart-Wright 1-2 1-1  3  2  0
Logan 0-3 0-0  0  0  0
TOTALS 15-43 11-21  45  28  8
Threes: Wood 1-4, Thorne 1-5, Logan 0-3, Ford 0-1, Abdul-Qasim 0-1, Tucker 0-1
MADIGAN 7-16 2-3  17   7   2
MULHERN 1-6 1-2  3   3   3
RICHARDS 3-9 1-1  7   3   0
MARTIN 4-5 0-0  8   4   2
SULLIVAN 5-10 0-0  10   4   2
Birks 0-1 0-0  0   0   0
Fargo 0-2 0-0  0   2   1
Strickland 0-0 0-0  0   0   0
Bourne 0-0 0-0  0   2   1
Roeber 0-0 1-3  1   0   0
TOTALS 21-50 5-9  46  25   11
Threes: Madigan 1-4, Martin 0-1, Sullivan 0-1, Birks 0-1, Fargo 0-2, Mulhern 0-3, Richards 0-4