NASHVILLE — In a game that featured 18 3-pointers, it was poetic justice that Zach Deiters' game-winning shot in the final seconds of overtime at the Nashville Invitational Tournament came from beyond the arc.
Deiters drained a 20-footer to help third-seeded Mater Dei to a 63-60 overtime victory as the Knights escaped a furious upset bid by the Wesclin Warriors.
"We thought we'd have a better chance of making one from the perimeter than punching it inside," said Mater Dei coach Ron Schadegg, whose 13-6 team was 10th in the latest Class 2A state rankings. "We gave the fans their money's worth. He was wide open and he was due to make one."
It was Deiters' fourth 3-pointer of the second half and came after Wesclin sophomore Jarad Steenbergen's fifth 3-pointer tied it 60-60 with 19 seconds remaining.
That the game even reached overtime was a credit to the scrappy Warriors (5-11), who lost 81-61 to the same Mater Dei team 11 days earlier at the Highland Shootout.
This time Wesclin slapped a 2-3 zone on the Knights to help negate their height disadvantage and hammered away from beyond the 3-point line all night.
The Warriors hit seven straight 3-pointers in the second quarter and tacked on another early in the second half to run their hot streak to eight 3s in a row.
They finished the night an otherworldly 11-for-17 from 3-point range, with five coming from the hot hand of Steenbergen.
Amazingly, no smoke alarms went off inside Nashville's Assembly Hall with all the hot shooting.
"I think the first time was a little fluke when we beat them by 20," Schadegg said. "It's hard to exchange 3s for twos for 32 minutes and they did a nice job of putting the ball in the hole. They also did a good job of taking away our inside presence and we knew we'd struggle a little bit from the perimeter.
"It doesn't matter if we beat them by 20 or beat them by two; to me, a win's a win. It was a great high school basketball game, give a lot of credit to Wesclin and their team and staff."
Mater Dei will face Teutopolis (11-5) in the 8 p.m. semifinal Friday while top-seeded Gibault (14-3) plays Central (12-4) in the 6:30 p.m. semifinal.
At the end of the night Mater Dei ran a play to get a shot for Deiters, a 6-foot-2 junior who hit three of his final four 3-point tries in the second half.
"Thankfully he found his rhythm and was able to hit four (in the second half) and keep us in the game, kind of keep us alive there," Schadegg said.
Deiters finished with 17 points while Nolan Gerling added 15 and Ben Lampe had 13. Steenbergen led Wesclin with 16 points while Alex Smith had 13 and Justin Goff and Kyle Eversgerd added 12 each.
Mater Dei couldn't finish off the Warriors despite a four-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Wesclin tied it 54-54, then the Knights had three shots at the end of regulation but none of them fell.
Wesclin launched a deadly long-range assault in the second quarter, sinking seven straight 3-pointers to help wipe out a 20-11 deficit at the end of the first quarter.
Steenbergen hit three of the seven and had four 3-pointers in the first half as the Warriors were 8-for-13 from 3-point range.
In the second quarter, Wesclin hit all seven of its 3-point shots and missed only the two from 2-point range.
Wesclin hit its eighth straight 3-pointer when Eversgerd connected early in the second half before the Warriors finally missed the next one.
The teams were tied 41-41 after three quarters and couldn't get much separation in the fourth quarter, either.
Teutopolis 53, Freeburg 47
Freeburg's fourth-quarter comeback fell just short as the Midgets (9-7) lost to Teutopolis in another first-round game. Five 3-pointers and 17 points from Reed Hardiek proved to be the difference as the Wooden Shoes withstood an 8-0 Freeburg run early in the fourth quarter that cut the T-town lead to 34-32.
Freeburg, which got 14 points from Justin Diecker and 13 from Jacob Mueller, also hurt itself with 20 turnovers.
"Defensively I thought we played a very tough game, but unfortunately they did too," Freeburg coach T.J. Hoover said. "I just think we made more mistakes than they did and hats off to them for playing a cleaner game than we did."