Maybe, just maybe, Jordan Schmidt decided to make a day of it at Alleman High School's Don Morris Gymnasium.|
Several hours after a celebration of the life of the courageous, inspiring, 15-year-old Alleman sophomore taken by cancer, there were those among the Pioneers' girls' basketball team, after their 35-32 win over Moline on Thursday night, who believed there might be something to that.
"Nobody would be happier than Jordan right now," said Alleman coach Jay Hatch, reflecting on the emotional day. "He was an inspirational kid to everybody. You couldn't go to school here and not know him. He was a phenomenal kid, and we're going to miss him."
Alleman's Anne Bohnert, who hit the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Pioneers their first Western Big 6 Conference win of the season, took that thought even further.
"He was definitely looking down on us, cheering us on," said Bohnert, whose shot went in as the final horn sounded. "He probably was sitting on the basket, making sure it went in. That would be him."
Bohnert's bucket was just the finishing touch to the oddest of finishes to one of the closest of games.
With the game tied at 32, Moline passed the ball around from the 1:40 mark until Emily Knight drove the lane and was fouled on her shot with 6.8 seconds left. However, her first shot rattled around and off, as did the second. Alleman's Erin Morrisey got the rebound, but a precious three seconds ticked away until the Pioneers could call a timeout.
That's when the Pioneers (11-11, 1-6 in WB6) finished it out just the way Alleman coach Jay Hatch mapped it.
"Drawing it up is easy," Hatch said. "Executing it is not. The kids did great."
Alleman got the ball to midcourt with its inbound pass, the clock down to 2.9 seconds at the timeout whistle. From there, point guard Isabelle Anderson got the ball and found Bohnert on the left wing, alone for the 3.
"It was an open shot," said Bohnert, Alleman's leading scorer. "Erin and Anna (Wetherell) set great screens for me to get open. Coach Hatch told us we'd have plenty of time to run the play."
From the first quarter on, the biggest lead for either team was three, a 14-11 Moline advantage midway through the second.
"I don't know if anything can really surprise us anymore," said Moline coach Steve Ford, whose hard-luck Maroons are now 7-17, 2-5 in the WB6. "We get ourselves in a position to win. We battle, play hard, fight. We just don't get the outcome we'd like.
"Good things HAVE to come our way if we continue to work hard."
Ford admitted it had to be difficult for the Pioneers, given their emotional day.
"It would be very tough," he said, "but they were tough, they held together. They did a lot of great things and had positive results."
Bohnert said that the afternoon's tears were brought up.
"Coach said we had every excuse not to go out and give it our all," she said. "He was really proud of us that we played as hard as we could."
And though the Pioneers picked this day, this heart-string draining day, for their first conference win, Hatch noted that it also provided an opportunity to gain some perspective.
"Sometimes a little too much emphasis is placed on sports," the Alleman coach said. "Today was one of those days that reminds us of that."
And yet, it also proved to be one of those reminders that Jordan Schmidt was an Alleman Pioneer through and through. Whether he had anything to do with that shot going in or not.