Pukys OT Buzzer Beater Lifts Boys Basketball Past Lake
Louisville 62, Lake 59, OT
With multiple Blue Streaks defenders in his face, Jake Pukys hit home a three-point buzzer beater to lift Louisville past visiting Lake 62-59 in overtime on Senior Night at Louisville High School Tuesday. With the victory, the Leopards finish the regular season with a record of 18-4.
Louisville was led by Chris Libertore who hit 4 of the Leopards 8 three-pointers and finished with a game-high 20 points. Pukys, the hero of the night, finished with 12 points and a team-high 4 assists. Seniors Jake Adams, Jarett Heater, and Drew Noble all tacked on 8 points for Louisville as well.
Offense came at a premium in the first half as the Blue Streaks led just 8-7 at the end of the first and took a 22-15 lead into the break. The Leopards rallied back with a 20-5 run to start the second half in taking a 35-27 advantage early on in the fourth quarter. Three-pointers by Adams, Libertore, and Pukys and back-to-back buckets by Heater at the end of the third quarter sparked the Louisville run.
The Leopards maintained their eight point advantage as time ticked under two minutes left in regulation. However, Lake got hot from beyond the arch and erased the Louisville lead in those final minutes. Jim Kirven hit consecutive three-pointers on the Blue Streaks end to double up Libertore’s old-fashioned three-point play on the Leopards end. Drew Myers would hit another Lake triple to cut the deficit to 49-45 with under a minute to play.
Louisville answered with a Hail Mary pass from Adams to Jared Holland who dropped it in to extend the Leopard lead to 51-45. The relentless Streaks answered back seconds later when Joe McBride laced home a three from the right corner to get Lake within a possession at 51-48 with 40 seconds to play.
Holland split a pair of free throws on the other end to put Louisville back up by four, Then the Leopards defense clamped down and denied the Blue Streaks another outside shot opportunity, but Lake found a way to put up points anyways. McBride drove to the hoop, made the lay-in, and was fouled in the process. The scenario got worse for the Leopards as Jack Lostowski snagged the rebound off the ensuing missed free throw attempt. In a wild sequence, the ball grazed off the hands of players from both teams before settling into the hands of Lostowski. The Blue Streaks called timeout with 14.9 seconds remaining.
On the final play of regulation, Lake nearly turned the ball over twice before Chandler Vaudrin picked up the loose ball in the right corner. He spotted up for three to freeze the Louisville defense and drove to the basket. Fading away, he got the kind bounce off the glass to knot the game at 52-52 and send the contest into overtime.
The Blue Streaks struck first in the extra period via Lostowski’s lay-in on the opening possession. Benefiting from the double bonus, Libertore answered by making both shots from the charity line to tie the game back up at 54-all. After Lake committed an offensive foul, Libertore gave Louisville the lead back with a three-pointer from the right wing via a pass from Pukys.
Lostowski dropped in a bucket for the Blue Streaks and Noble matched the total with a pair of free throws on the other end to. Lake knotted the game at 59-59 with 1:19 left when Vaudrin converted a bonus free throw after he was fouled scoring on a lay-in.
Louisville successfully ran the clock down, but turned the ball over before they could attempt one final shot. Lake looked to call timeout after they crossed the timeline on the following possession, but instead decided to play on. The decision resulted in the Blue Streaks turning the ball over via a traveling call with 3.7 seconds remaining.
That setup the game-winning scenario for the Leopards. Adams passed the ball into Pukys who sped passed half-court looking for an open man. Three Lake defenders closed in on him and he stopped & popped about three feet beyond the center of the arch. Time stood still as a packed LHS gymnasium watched the ball sail straight through the cylinder. Then the gym exploded and the student section erupted pouring onto the court. Pukys became the cornerstone of a dog pile that exponentially grew underneath the opposite hoop as the Leopards celebrated a 62-59 victory in the regular season finale.
Louisville out-shot Lake for the game 57% (20 of 35) to 50% (20 of 40), which included a 65% (8 of 13) performance from downtown. The Leopards also held an edge in rebounding for the night 18-13.
The Blue Streaks were led by Lostowski who poured in a team-high 18 points. Myers also scored 14 points and Vaudrin had 12 points & a game-high 6 assists.
With the victory, Louisville has now defeated Lake in their past two meetings after the Blue Streaks took four straight before that. This was the Leopards first home win in the series since they defeated Lake 46-43 back on January 12, 2010. The Blue Streaks still lead the all-time series 18-12.
Louisville finishes 7-1 against non-conference foes and 4-1 against Federal League opponents. This is also just the second time in school history that the Leopards have won 18 or more regular season games in back-to-back seasons (1991-92 & 1992-93 was the other time).
Prior to the game, Louisville honored their seven Seniors that included Jake Adams, Matt Eddins, Jarett Heater, Jared Holland, Drew Noble, Jake Pukys, and Rahzul Young. Leopard Nation would like to personally thank these seven athletes for all of their hard work and dedication put into making the Leopards Basketball program what it is today. We wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors beyond LHS!
UP NEXT: The Leopards will next host the winner of Austintown Fitch/Kent Roosevelt in the DI Alliance Sectional Finals on Saturday, February 27 at 7:00 PM.
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