Nick Pollmann hadn’t hit anything but two free throws since the first quarter, but the Mater Dei senior figured there was no need for a third overtime Wednesday at the Class 3A Columbia Regional.
Pollmann drained a 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds remaining and a last-second halfcourt shot by Cahokia glanced off the rim as Mater Dei escaped to the regional final with a frenetic 50-47 double-overtime victory.
“It felt good,” said Pollmann, who finished with 15 points and beat rival Central earlier this season with a shot from nearly the exact same spot. “Top of the key’s a good place to shoot a three and wide open ... you’ve got to make those.
“I thought Mason (Toennies) was going to shoot it, then all of a sudden he just turned and threw it out to me. I didn’t have anyone by me.”
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It was the fourth straight overtime win by Mater Dei.
It felt good. Top of the key’s a good place to shoot a three and wide open ... you’ve got to make those.
Mater Dei senior Nick Pollmann on his game-winning shot
“These guys are big-game ready and they showed it again tonight,” Mater Dei coach Ron Schadegg said. “Just persistence. That’s been the M.O. of this team all year I think. They just don’t quit. Everything may not go well at times, but this is a group that they just don’t quit.
“That’s a heck of a basketball team they just beat.”
Mater Dei (21-7) will face Columbia (21-6) for the regional title at 7 p.m. Friday. Columbia’s opponent might have been Cahokia (15-16), which wiped out an early 11-point deficit and played intense basketball throughout the second half only to come up a bit short.
Butchie Timmermann scored six of his 14 points during the third quarter to help keep the Knights close with Cahokia’s intense defense forcing 12 second-half turnovers. Toennies added eight points while Cahokia got 17 points from Thomas Bell and 14 from Jakorey Davis.
The Comanches had a 3-pointer by Davis go wide at the end of regulation, then missed three of four free throws in the second overtime period before Pollmann hit the game-winner.
Everything may not go well at times, but this is a group that they just don’t quit. That’s a heck of a basketball team they just beat.
Mater Dei coach Ron Schadegg
“It certainly wasn’t pretty,” Pollmann said. “But at this time of the year of course everyone says all you’ve got to do is win. Doesn’t matter how you do it, but all you ‘ve got ot do is win.”
A 16-4 Cahokia run midway through the game put the Comanches on top and they were leading 37-31 with just under five minutes remaining in regulation.
Cahokia was unable to close it out as Toennies had six points in the fourth quarter, including two free throws with 1:04 remaining to force overtime.
Mater Dei’s Lucas Theising had a chance to win it at the end of the first OT, but missed a 3-pointer.
The teams battled hard throughout the second OT. After two free throws by Timmermann gave Mater Dei a 47-44 lead, Cahokia came right back to tie it on a clutch 3-pointer by Bell with 21 seconds remaining.
That tie stood until Pollmann sent everyone home.
“He got open and I don’t know how that happened,” Cahokia coach Darian Nash said. “We tried to make it hard for him and we tried to make made him uncomfortable. He nailed a good shot, that’s what big time players do. Hit big-time shots.”
Cahokia’s Marvon Crumble wasn’t far off the mark on his halfcourt heave that glanced off the rim.
“They’re hurting, but at the same time I told them there’s no reason to hold their heads down,” Nash said. “A free throw here, a free throw there, we could be celebrating.”
Instead, the Knights left victorious and ready for a shot at Columbia on Friday.
“It wasn’t looking good there in the second half but we were able to grind it out,” Pollmann said. “We’ve been in a lot of overtime games this year and we haven’t lost one yet. Coach said to us on the bench ‘Your’re ready for this. You want it more,’ and we went out there and got it.”’