Basinger’s last-second heroics, unlikely shot put Kalida in district

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Last-second heroics lift Kalida to district tournament

It was one of those moments that is retold for years to come. A high school basketball player has the ball in his hands with just
seconds remaining and his team trailing by two points in a tournament
game where momentum swayed back and forth for 32 minutes. Jordan Basinger lived that moment Friday in Kalida's Division IV
sectional final victory over Putnam County rival Pandora-Gilboa at
sold-out Bluffton High School. With just 2.3 seconds remaining and Basinger standing a step or two in
front of the halfcourt line, the sophomore shot the ball and hoped for
a miracle. He got it.



It was one of those moments that is retold for years to come.

A high school basketball player has the ball in his hands with just seconds remaining and his team trailing by two points in a tournament game where momentum swayed back and forth for 32 minutes.

Jordan Basinger lived that moment Friday in Kalida's Division IV sectional final victory over Putnam County rival Pandora-Gilboa at sold-out Bluffton High School.

With just 2.3 seconds remaining and Basinger standing a step or two in front of the halfcourt line, the sophomore shot the ball and hoped for a miracle. He got it.

The fans in the gym in held their breaths as the ball sailed through the air before banking off the glass and through the net, the perfect ending to the Wildcats' 53-52 victory over the Rockets.

The victory sets up a meeting with Antwerp in the district semifinals Tuesday at Elida.

“I knew I just had to throw something up. I leaned a little as I took it and thought it was going to be off. Fortunately it went in,” said Basinger, barely able to speak over the cheers on a night when he scored 21 points. “This game was everything you could ask for in a tournament. We didn't want to end up disappointed.”

Kalida head coach Dick Kortokrax has seen a lot of basketball in his more than four decades of coaching. Yet, even the veteran coach couldn't remember an ending as good as the one Basinger delivered.

“I don't ever recall a game like this,” said Kortokrax, whose team advances to play Antwerp Tuesday night in an 8 p.m. district final at the Elida Fieldhouse. “I knew if Jordan could get within reasonable distance, he had a chance to make it.”

Moments earlier, the Rockets (17-4), who won their first PCL title in school history, going unbeaten at 7-0, took the lead on a jumper in the lane by Joshua Lee. The shot snapped the 11th tie of the game.

In the blink of an eye, though, their dream season was over. The Rockets led 11-7 at the end of the first and held a 20-18 lead at halftime in a game that was similar to a couple of kids on the playground playing basketball well past sunset.

P-G took a 38-33 lead into the fourth and seemed to be on its way to a win until Basinger came through at the end.

Rockets head coach Joe Braidic was alone in an equipment room after the game was over, the look of disappointment on his face said it all.

He just couldn't believe that his team came up short in a game where it gave a leave-it-all-on-the-floor effort.

“We outplayed them for four quarters and they hit a lucky shot at the end to win it,” Braidic said. “It happens every year in the tournament. Lady Luck is always on someone's side. It was a great game and Kalida is a great team. But we have a pretty good team, too. It's a tough loss.”

This season has been one of the best for the Wildcats. They are 16-5 overall, a remarkable record when one considers Kalida doesn't even have a senior on the roster. The Wildcats finished second to P-G in the PCL standings.

“I wasn't sure if we could even be this good this year because we don't have any seniors,” Kortokrax said. “But we have a good group of kids and they work so hard. They have come together nicely and they deserve the success they have had.”

Junior Justin Kahle scored 10 points for Kalida, which shot 22-of-41 from the field. He was the only other player in double figures for the Wildcats.

P-G was led by Lee and Jordan Lehman, who played with ice water in his veins on a night when he knocked down four 3-pointers, the last forging a 50-50 tie with 43 seconds left. The two players scored 15 points apiece. P-G was 20-of-45 from the field.

Basinger said he and his teammates seemed to have hit their stride at just the right time and he hopes they can keep it going as it heads into the district tournament.

“It feels so awesome that we are still playing,” Basinger said. “We have been working so hard this year and we don't ever stop believing in ourselves. We are playing with confidence.”

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