SALEM, Va. – Quardell Young had no time to think about the scope of what was happening.
Williams College just scored the go-ahead basket with just over 4 seconds remaining.
Young took the inbound and, in a flash, went coast-to-coast, through defenders and nailed a ridiculous, fully-extended left-handed layup and the foul with .9 seconds left on the clock. National. Champs. Again.
(Sorry, only video on youtube)
That was the basket that gave the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater men’s basketball team its second Division III national championship in three seasons. The Warhawks beat Williams (Mass.) 75-73.
The strategy – as it often is - after Williams’ Michael Mayer tipped in the go-ahead buck with 4.9 seconds left was to keep the defense off guard – keep things crazy – so Whitewater didn’t call timeout.
“We (work on that) a lot of that in practice,” Young said. “I knew I didn’t have a lot of time so I basically made an in-and-out move and then had one step to the inside available, so I took it.”
The Warhawks (29-4), who lost to UW-La Crosse 88-83 on Jan. 22 – but redeemed that with a 63-45 win in the WIAC tournament - are now 4-for-4 in national title games (1984, ’89, 2012) and have won five national titles in football since 2007.
This is the fifth title out of the WIAC since 2004 – the three others were by UW-Stevens Point.
While Young was the hero and finished with 13 points, five assists, teammate Eric Bryson did his part after coming into the game 0-for-20 from beyond the arc in the last four games.
Bryson went 3-for-5 from deep, hitting the first 3-pointer of the game and another to give Whitewater a 72-71 lead with 54 seconds remaining – the final points preceding the final seconds of pandemonium.
The Warhawks had a 15-point lead in the first half, but were up just 37-33 at halftime.
They pushed that lead back up to seven five minutes into the second half before a game ensued – one like a ping-pong volley that never ends, as the teams went back and forth and back and forth.
Williams (28-5) answered the seven-point deficit with a 7-0 run and the final 12 minutes, 5 seconds featured six ties and 10 lead changes, the last, of course, Young’s and-1 to win it all.