VERMILION — Cameron Kuhn picked the perfect time for his first buzzer-beater.
With 8.3 seconds left and the game tied Saturday night, Kuhn received an inbounds pass and drove in for the game-winning layup before the buzzer sounded to lift Vermilion to a 45-43 win over Brookside in the Vermilion Tip-Off Classic championship.
“As soon as I got past the first guard, I saw their big guy come up,” Kuhn said. “I figured if I could take one more dribble, I could hit it off the top of the glass. I took that extra dribble and threw it up and it worked. It went right in.”
Kuhn finished with a game-high 20 points, but it didn’t always come so easy. After scoring 11 points in the first quarter, Kuhn missed 10 straight shots before making another field goal in the fourth quarter. His second field goal in the fourth was the game-winner.
“It feels great right now,” Kuhn said. “I just wish I could’ve made some more shots during the game and we wouldn’t have had to be in that situation.
Kuhn had scored on back-to-back three-point plays and a 3-pointer to give the Sailors a quick 9-2 lead two minutes into the game.
He added a steal and a layup a few minutes later and Nick Prenatt added a putback to give Vermilion its biggest lead at 14-4.
The Cardinals, fueled by a Christian Gray 3-pointer and back-to-back baskets by Kelvin Jones — who led Brookside with 12 points — went on a 7-1 run to start the second quarter to cut the deficit to 15-14.
Vermilion answered with a 7-0 run of its own to make the score 22-14, but the Cardinals responded quickly, trimming the lead to three.
Brookside grabbed its first lead in the third quarter thanks to an 11-4 run, and was up 32-29 lead after a Gray 3-pointer.
“They did a great job with their 2-3 zone,” Vermilion coach Kurt Habermehl said of the Cardinals. “We talked about coming out and playing with a lot of energy, but we just didn’t have it tonight. We just stood around and jacked up too many threes tonight.”
Vermilion was able to find enough energy to go on a 9-2 run to close out the third and take a 38-34 lead, then extended that advantage to 42-36 after a Seth Konrad field goal, but Brookside didn’t go away, pulling within one late.
“Our kids did everything they could tonight to stay in the basketball game,” Brookside coach Brent Schremp said. “They know they have the capability to be successful.”
Contact Steve Walker at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vermilion 45, Brookside 43
BROOKSIDE (43): Cameron Drew 2-2-6, David Rangel 2-0-5, Christian Gray 3-0-9, Kelvin Jones 5-2-12, Mitto Agosto 2-0-4, Tyree Jones 3-0-7. Totals 17-4-43.
VERMILION (45): Ross Lewis 1-0-3, Aaron Dawson 0-0-0, Kyle Nader 4-2-10, Seth Konrad 2-3-7, Cameron Kuhn 6-7-20, Nick Prenatt 1-0-2, Caleb Waller 1-1-3. Totals 15-13-45.
Brookside 7 14 13 9 — 43
Vermilion 14 11 13 7 — 45
Three-point goals: Brookside (Gray 3, T. Jones), Vermilion (Kuhn, Lewis). Field goals: Brookside 17-37 (46 percent), Vermilion 15-53 (28 percent); Free throws: Brookside 4-10 (40 percent), Vermilion 13-20 (65 percent); Rebounds: Brookside 36, Vermilion 30; Turnovers: Brookside 17, Vermilion 4.