EATON TWP. — A miracle shot temporarily saved Midview on Tuesday night before four fatal turnovers sank the Middies in a 58-56 overtime thriller won by visiting Firelands at Ed Kubuski gym.
Down by three points after a missed shot with two seconds to go, Brad Gross grabbed the rebound, dribbled to the corner and threw up a turnaround jumper that went swish as the buzzer sounded, sending the West Shore Conference game into overtime.
But a 3-pointer by Kreig Hozalski, who played a terrific game, got the Falcons jump-started in overtime, then Midview self-destructed with four turnovers to preserve the win for Firelands (6-4, 2-2 in the WSC).
Midview (4-5, 2-2) still had a chance before missing three shots in the final 30 seconds. The irony is that the Middies had only eight turnovers going into overtime, including just three in the first half. They led 30-26 at intermission.
A poor third quarter also played a key role in Midview’s defeat. The Middies hit only two of 12 shots in the period — five of them were blocked by the spirited Falcon defense — and were outrebounded 11-7. Firelands outscored the hosts 12-4 in the third to take a 38-34 lead.
Hozalski’s layup with 7:40 to go gave Firelands a six-point lead before Midview scrambled back and eventually tied it on Gross’ shot.
Hozalski, a 6-foot-4 senior, scored a season-high 26 points to lead all players. He connected on four 3-pointers and pulled down 10 rebounds.
“They tried to pressure me but we worked around it,” he said. “Thanks to my teammates, they gave me good screens to get me open. We played hard all night.”
The Falcons had a 42-35 rebound edge.
“This was the best defense we’ve played in a long time,” Hozalski said. “I can’t believe his (Gross) turnaround jumper. You don’t see a shot like that every day.”
Hozalski’s previous high was 19 points against Brooklyn.
Firelands coach Steve Lias was also stunned by the buzzer-beater.
“When that shot went in it was unbelievable, wow,” he said. “But our kids didn’t hang their heads. They kept playing.
“I thought they played the whole game extremely hard, especially in the second half. We ran our offense, kept control and kept our composure. On a couple of those blocked shots I told myself, ‘I can’t believe we did that.’”
Midview coach Troy DiFranco wasn’t surprised by the thriller.
“It’s always this way when we play Firelands,” he said. “I was disappointed at our late turnovers. We didn’t look like a veteran team at the end and overall I thought we were stale on offense.
“Still, despite the mistakes we still had a chance at the end.”
Firelands connected on eight of 16 3-pointers and shot 39 percent overall from the field. Midview shot 37 percent.
Contact Jerry Rombach at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Firelands 58, Midview 56
FIRELANDS (58): Kreig Hozalski 10-2-26, Nick Simonovich 3-3-11, Justin Morell 3-1-7, Preston Rathge 2-0-6, Jacob Earl 1-4-6, Ryan Waldmann 1-0-2, Matt Deichler 0-0-0. Totals 20-10-58.
MIDVIEW (56): Cody Gunselman 5-2-14, Brad Gross 6-0-14, Nick Clark 5-2-12, Andrew Agee 3-0-6, Mike Mercado 2-0-4, Jordan English 1-2-4, Justin Casselle 1-0-2, Anthony Zunis 0-0-0. Totals 23-6-56.
Firelands 10 16 12 10 10 — 58
Midview 12 18 4 14 8 — 56
Three-point goals: Firelands 8-16 (Hozalski 4, Rathge 2, Simonovich 2); Midview 4-6 (Gunselman 2, Gross 2). Field goals: Firelands 20-51 (39 percent); Midview 23-61 (37 percent). Free throws: Firelands 10-15 (67 percent); Midview 6-9 (67 percent). Rebounds: Firelands 42 (Hozalski 10); Midview 35 (Clark 12). Turnovers: Firelands 18; Midview 12. Total fouls: Firelands 15; Midview 20. Fouled out: Clark.
Junior varsity: Midview, 53-36.