FARMINGTON -- Hidden among the hysteria in the final two minutes on Friday night was a shot Monmouth-Roseville junior guard Dalton Hottle buried with 1:51 left in regulation.|
Turns out, that was the game-winning basket.
Lacking the dramatics of a last-second shot, Hottle's jumper from the left elbow provided the deciding factor in the Titans' 39-38 win over Minonk Fieldcrest in the Class 2A Farmington Sectional championship game. The final 110 seconds had its heart-pounding moments, but none led to any points as Monmouth-Roseville avenged a double-overtime loss against the Knights in last year's sectional final.
"I got it in my hands and I was feeling it," Hottle said with the sectional-winning net draped around his neck. "There's not much you can say. It was an in-the-moment kind of thing. I was fortunate to put it in."
Not even the first option on the set play the Titans ran with a 38-37 deficit, Hottle answered Cole Klendworth's two free throws that gave Fieldcrest its first lead of the fourth quarter with 2:06 left. After that, Monmouth-Roseville got three defensive stops to advance to Tuesday's DeKalb Super-Sectional against undefeated Winnebago at the NIU Convocation Center.
Monmouth-Roseville (26-4) reaches the super-sectional for the first time in six years.
"I remember that feeling," Monmouth-Roseville coach Chuck Grant said. "I was thinking earlier (Friday) if it would be the same feeling. It is. One step away from getting down to Peoria."
As expected with the sectional championship being won on the first day of March, there was madness after Hottle's bucket. Fieldcrest (25-6) missed a 3-pointer on its ensuing possession, but the Titans could not increase the lead when Martel Hunter missed a reverse layup with 46 seconds left.
Holding for the final shot, the Knights caught a break when Hunter, who scored 12 points, was whistled for a holding foul with :10.8 remaining. Brady Sanders -- an 87 percent foul shooter -- then missed the front-end of the bonus, keeping the Monmouth-Roseville lead intact.
"We caught a break," Grant said. "That's a kid that -- nine times out of 10 -- is going to knock that down."
Already a hero, Hottle had a chance to double his fun a second after Sanders' miss. However, Hottle missed the front-end of the bonus after he was fouled.
Fieldcrest tried hitting a sectional-winning shot, but Jackson Puetz's baseline runner fell short before the rebound sailed toward the corner. As players from both teams tried corralling the loose ball, the clock expired.
When the horn sounded, Monmouth-Roseville celebrated what it thought was a sectional title. Then the officials ruled a held ball with :01.2 left, but the Titans had the arrow.
On the subsequent inbounds, Hunter juked his defender, ran toward the Fieldcrest basket and caught a long-distance pass to run out the clock.
"It was our night," Grant said.
A basket few considered would be the last one ultimately was the winner.
"A tough shot," Fieldcrest coach Matt Winkler said. "We told our guys not to give up any layups and make them make a jump shot. Hats off to him. That was a tough shot in a pressure-packed situation."
Hottle was clutch all night, scoring a game-high 14 points as he hit seven of his eight shot attempts. No basket was bigger than the last one.
"This is the best feeling in the world," Hottle said. "There's another game we have to get ready for, but this is great."
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