Emotions Run High In Last-Second Win
Point Lookout, Mo – In less than 10 seconds, hearts sank and cheers roared as the shot by Brandon Beasley sailed long, but was quickly scooped up by an alert James Devlin for the quick jumper.
In that 10 seconds, both teams experienced those same emotions, but in reverse order, as Devlin’s shot found nothing but net. The sight of that ball falling through the net sent William Penn players, coaches and fans streaming onto the court in celebration. It was pandemonium.
James Parrott of Midland sat on the floor in front of the Penn bench, exhausted from the effort of trying to upset the number one team in the nation… only to have fallen short in a heartbeat.
William Penn Head Coach John Henry talked about the game afterwards and the moment Devlin’s shot sailed through the net. “The moment was, I can’t believe this is happening.”
“This is a very large group effort.” Henry said, where he recognized the efforts of everyone, from William Penn University itself, to past and present team members and the parents of players.
“We do it together always.” said Henry of the teamwork and ‘family’ mentality that has been a hallmark of the 2013 Statesmen program. “It’s the way we’ve been doing it all year. I just can’t believe the son of a Maytag factory worker, son of a school bus driver is going to be coaching in the final four.”
Henry, who said he is a “nobody from nowhere” who would rather be fishing than golfing, “and I recruit ornery kids. Ornery, ornery kids. I don’t want them to be choirboys, I just don’t want them to get in trouble and we make it work. A bunch of mutts and that’s the way we’ve done it for 12 years. For it to culminate right now, in this moment, going to the final four, is just very, very moving.”
Fighting through injury and adversity is what almost every great team does. Sprains, and hurt ankles and knees are what hurts this late into a season, but having a fellow player pass out on your bench speaks to the depth of a team.
Ross Howe passed out in the game versus Midland on Saturday. Howe, who was disappointed in his performance during the game, pleaded with Coach Henry to allow him back into the game. “I can go, I can go.” Howe told Coach Henry. “I said no, you can’t. I’m not risking your life for a stupid basketball game. We don’t know what’s wrong with ya.”
Howe, emotional, told Henry, “Please, I’m really sorry I played bad.” Howe was worried about a play earlier in the contest that allowed a defender to go middle and score. “You were really mad at me.”
Henry said that, “That just really broke my heart.” Howe told Henry, “I don’t want that to be my last playing memory here on this team, so don’t let us lose.” Henry promised Howe that they wouldn’t lose, and then Henry added, “Thank goodness for James Devlin, because I wasn’t a liar to Ross Howe.”
“That’s just the way this team is, we find a way,” Henry said.
William Penn takes on Grace in the Final Four tonight at 6pm. You can listen to the game on KBOE.