2/2/2017 4:09:00 PM Nelson goes off and Gillach beats buzzer on wild Friday night The Wildcats mounted a huge comeback and beat Cambridge-Isanti on a last second shot
The student section poured onto the court to surround the Wildcat players after Thomas Gillach hit the game-winning shot.
Trevin Nelson hits a big three pointer late in CL's comeback against Cambridge-Isanti
It was a wild finish when the Wildcats hosted the Cambridge-Isanti on Friday, January 27.
Trevin Nelson converted a rare four-point play late in the second half and then Thomas Gillach nailed a near-impossible behind-the-backboard fadeaway jumper to give the ‘Cats a miraculous win 69-67 walk-off win.
After the start Chisago Lakes had, it didn’t look like they would even be in a position to threaten Cambridge-Isanti late. Behind their young point guard Henry Abraham and bruising senior forward Luke Johnson, the Jackets raced out to a near 20-point lead halfway through the first frame.
Although the ‘Cats were able to cut into that lead a bit by halftime, they were still down by 15, 36-21 at halftime, and knew that it would take a lot of work to come back.
Nelson, who has been a lethal scorer for the ‘Cats this year, put the team on his shoulders as he instigated a comeback in the second half. He scored on a bevy of baskets from long range and in close. He also set his teammates up for some easy shots.
His play inspired the guys around him, and they started to hit more shots. Aron Johnson pounded away down low and ended up with 14 points, most of them in the paint. Will Tinjum spotted up from the outside and finished with 12 points, and up until just a few seconds left in the game, Gillach had nine points.
Nelson’s highlight came very late in the second half when he spotted up for a three pointer and a Cambridge-Isanti defender got a little too greedy and swiped at his arm going for the block. Nelson’s shot was still strong enough to go in, and he got the foul call, giving the ‘Cats a much needed four point play.
With under 10 seconds left in the game, Nelson went to the line again, with CL trailing by one point. After knocking down the first shot, Nelson’s second attempt banged off the rim, leaving the game tied.
But, Chisago Lakes fought hard for the rebound and earned possession back. They missed their first attempt, but the carom went off a Jacket rebounded and out of bounds, giving Chisago Lakes the ball back with 1.4 seconds left.
Head Coach Todd Dufault called for a look down low to Johnson to get the highest percentage shot he could, but the ball would have to go through Gillach first, as the Jackets weren’t just going to give up the paint to Johnson.
Nelson was the inbounder and he found Gillach in the corner. Gillach took a quick look at Johnson and saw he wasn’t open, so he stepped back and let one fly from behind the baseline, falling out of bounds. The ball narrowly missed the backboard and swished in, setting off a frenzy in the home gym as teammates and fellow students swarmed him. “Right when I shot it, I know it had a chance and I was just in shock that it actually went in,” Gillach said after the game. “It was just crazy down there, everyone was hugging me and I was in awe over the whole situation right after. I was just super excited.”
Gillach pointed to Nelson’s play down the stretch though as the biggest factor for the ‘Cats victory. “His four point play was crazy. He was just trying to draw a foul and he threw it up there and made it,” Gillach explained. “It was unreal. He played great down the stretch and gave us the opportunity to win.” Nelson ended with a game-high 26 points and Gillach had 11.
Dufault, who is no stranger to buzzer beating shots, took the win in stride. “Trevin made some plays to help get us back in the game and set up the game winner by Thomas,” he said. “Once again, I give the kids credit for not giving up and battling until the end.”