Friday night marked 41 days since the game DeKalb senior Adison Daub could not get out of his mind.
Daub missed a free throw in the final seconds of the Barons' one-point loss to Columbia City on Jan. 19. Against those same Eagles in the Class 4A Sectional 5 semifinals on Friday at Carroll, he erased those bad memories.
The guard hit two free throws with 2.5 seconds remaining then watched Columbia City's Daniel Woll narrowly miss a game-winning leaner at the buzzer as DeKalb advanced to today's championship game with a 46-45 victory.
“I was going to the free throw line and that was all that was on my mind,” Daub said. “I blew the game last time, so to get another opportunity it just means so much to me.”
Daub's free throws came in the midst of a wacky final few seconds of the game. DeKalb (17-7) trailed by one when Austin Macy drove to the hoop and made contact with Columbia City's Derek Hinen. One official called a charge while the other called a block. The officials conferred for several minutes as both coaches and fan bases cheered and jeered. The final decision was that there was a double foul on both Macy and Hinen and there was a jump ball.
The possession arrow pointed to the Barons, giving them another chance.
“That particular call, I don't know who called the call first, but I have to give credit to the officials,” DeKalb coach Jon Everingham said. “I think they made the right call and fortunately, we had the jump ball. When you win games like this, you have to have some fortunate breaks and we certainly did tonight.”
After the controversial call, Daub went to work, inbounding the pass off of Hinen's back and going to the hoop. He was fouled, setting up his free throw heroics.
“It was a spur of the moment thing,” said Daub of the pass to himself. “Normally, Hinen is in the middle of the lane and he's kind of guarding me and the basket, but I saw his back was turned and I saw Woll had his bad turned. The first thing that went to my head was that the basket was wide open, so I'd just throw it off of him, catch it and hopefully get something.”
After getting the ball across half court, the Eagles (20-4) called a timeout with 1.4 seconds remaining. Their play call worked to perfection as the inbounds pass was lobbed into Woll, who turned and fired a leaner that was just a bit too hard, tipping off the front of the rim after making contact with the backboard.
“He got the shot off and I am just standing there,” Daub said. “I said, 'Not again, not again' and it rolled off and I just started running.”
While the Barons won in the final seconds, the victory was set up by superb defense all game on Columbia City's scorers, particularly Drew Benedict. The senior finished with just three points on a three-pointer in the first quarter.
Even Woll finished with 12 points, all of which came in the first half.
“We just felt like if (Woll) was the focal point of the offense, maybe they would forget about Hinen and Benedict,” Everingham said. “In the first half they kept going to him, but we stuck to our game plan and it was really about maybe taking Hinen and Benedict out of the game by letting Woll get some points.”
The game was typical of recent games between the two NHC rivals, with the last six games being decided by an average of three points per game, including three of the last four coming down to just one point either way.
Cole Hartman led DeKalb with a team-high 19 points. The Barons advance to take on Northrop tonight in the sectional championship beginning at 7:30 p.m.
DEKALB 46, COLUMBIA CITY 45
DeKalb 13 10 11 12 - 46
Columbia City 16 9 7 13 - 45
DeKalb - Adison Daub 12, Macy 7, Dahlton Daub 4, Hartman 19, McKown 2, Moore 2.
Columbia City - Simmons 2, Benedict 3, Hinen 18, Woll 12, Paul 10.