Originally Posted Online: Feb. 08, 2013, 10:47 pm
Last Updated: Feb. 08, 2013, 11:48 pm

3-mendous finish! Rocks back atop Big 6 with Carr's late triple

Comment on this story

By Marc Nesseler, nesseler@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Gary Krambeck
Rock Island's C.J. Carr (0) slides past Galesburg's Marcus Ross (33) on his way to the basket in the first quarter on Friday Feb 8, 2013. Carr hit a buzzer- beating 3-pointer to lift the Rocks to a 58-57 win.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Gary Krambeck
Rock Island's Brian Richardson (21) has a hard time working his way past Galesburg's Joe Williams (25) on his way to the basket during the first quarter Friday Feb 8, 2013.

Two words scribbled on the notepad so that they'd be remembered at game's end for significance to the outcome of the Rock Island-Galesburg boys' basketball game at the Rock Garden on Friday night.

"The Announcement."

That was when, after RI announcer Mark Creger dramatically announced a halftime score of "Quincy 12 ... Moline 28!" the Rocks went on a 12-0 run to seemingly pull away to a double-digit lead over the Streaks after trailing at halftime.

With 3.2 seconds left, those two words were scratched out, replaced by two others.

"The Sequel."

That was when Galesburg's Grant Gibson drove the lane between Rocks for a basket that crawled into the hoop to give the Streaks' a two-point lead, much like what happened at Thiel Gym in December, a game Galesburg won by one.

Afterward in the Rocky locker room, a season history refresher had those two words long forgotten and replaced by two more.

"The Redemption."

Rocky junior point guard C.J. Carr, who missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer of the loss to Galesburg, dribbled the ball off of his leg at the buzzer in a one-point overtime loss at Quincy, and had a horrid shooting night on Friday until the final buzzer, perfectly drained a 25-foot 3-pointer as the horn went off.

Carr's redemption translated into a thrilling Rock Island victory, 58-57 over the Streaks, to move the Rocks into a tie for first place in the Western Big 6.

Coupled with a 54-51 win by Moline, RI (18-4) and Quincy are tied at the top at 6-2. They play each other in two weeks at the Rock Garden. The Quincy loss also helps Galesburg (15-13), still in the hunt at 5-3 but need help next week.

"The first thing (teammate) Trey Sigel said to me after the game was, 'That was redemption,'" said Carr. "There is no better feeling right now."

Actually, Carr was hoping to get the ball to Sigel, the WB6's top 3-point shooter, as he dribbled nearly three-quarters of the court after the throw-in.

"He wasn't open," the 5-foot-6 guard said of Sigel. "I knew I was going to have to shoot it."

The Streaks might have been thinking Carr would try to go coast-to-cost for the tie, plus he was six feet behind the arc. That left Carr with a good, open look.

"Travon Diggins guarded him the way we wanted," said Galesburg coach Mike Reynolds. "It was like a Hail Mary pass in football, and he made it. We tip our hat; he's a great player."

A finish like that wasn't even the realm of thought after "The announcement." When the Moline score, a 16-point lead, was announced for the first time, the eyes of the Streaks got so big that Reynolds had to implore, "Focus! Focus!" He repeated that four more times in rapid succession.
By the end of the third quarter, the Rocks led 45-37.

As the clock counted down to its final two minutes, the Streaks conjured up their own story angle, one predicated on steals. Three straight turned the game into a tie at 51, and with 43 seconds left, Galesburg held a 55-52 lead.

Then came what RI coach Thom Sigel could only describe with two words -- "Heady play."

With just :20 left, RI guard Brian Richardson faked a 3-pointer, then leaned into the Streaks defender as he put up an airball. He earned three free throws, making them all to tie the game at 55.

"If you watch a lot of NBA, you see that when it gets tough, they'll fake the 3-ball and draw the foul," Richardson said. "You love to get into moments like that, knocking all three down. You think about all of the practice that you've put in and hope that it has helped you."

Richardson was 7-for-7 at the line in leading the Rocks with 18 points. Carr finished with 13 on 4-of-13 shooting, and Raahsaan Brown also nabbed double-figuring scoring with 10.

Gibson had 17 points and seven rebounds for the Streaks, who were led in scoring by Joe Williams with 22. Williams, like Gibson a sophomore, was 6-of-9 from the floor, 4-of-5 beyond the arc and 6-of-6 at the line.

As for " The Annoucement," Sigel said he was unfazed.

"We told our guys we need to win out anyway," he said. "In all honesty, that outcome doesn't change a thing."

And it didn't turn out to be the angle of the thriller anyway.