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ROMEOVILLE — After the La Salle-Peru boys basketball team lost a nine-point lead in the final 82 seconds of regulation Friday against Lemont at the Romeoville Christmas Classic, it didn’t panic, lose control or let it linger.
Instead, in overtime, the Cavaliers simply took what was free.
Despite being unable to finish the win in regulation, L-P took over the game in overtime at the free throw line as the Cavs went 9-for-9 from the charity stripe in the extra session to earn a 91-84 OT victory over Lemont.
“We haven’t shot very well from the free throw line this season,” L-P coach Jim Cherveny said. “We’re only shooting about 58 percent. (Thursday against Chicago Christian) was a game where we lost by seven but missed eight free throws and against Ottawa we lost by eight and missed 16 free throws, so it’s good to walk away knowing we won it from the free throw line.”
L-P scored 14 points in OT, and its nine points from the foul line were more than the seven total points Lemont scored in OT.
“Coach has us practicing free throws a lot in practice,” L-P sophomore Brady Huebbe said. “He does competitions and drills with free throws, and it’s really paying off.”
After the Cavaliers lost to Chicago Christian 57-50 Thursday, free throws keyed the win Friday and advanced L-P (5-4) to today’s noon game against Joliet Catholic. Huebbe played a key role in getting the Cavs the win Friday.
After missing two of his first three free throws, the sophomore made his final 15 free throws, including going 4-for-4 in the fourth quarter and 5-for-5 in OT. He finished 16-for-18 from the foul line and scored a career-high 33 points.
“Brady has really come into himself lately,” Cherveny said. “He’s not trying to do too much as he was early in the season. He’s really playing within himself and it’s made everyone else around him better too because, when he’s scoring, teams key on him, which opens up shots for the other four guys on the floor.”
After L-P — which rallied from a 20-point third-quarter deficit to beat Lemont earlier this season at the Cavalier Classic — took a 53-50 lead into the fourth quarter, the Cavs went 4-for-6 from beyond the 3-point line in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter. It helped them take a 77-68 lead with 1:22 left in regulation.
However, the Indians took advantage of L-P turnovers as a three-point play and a 3-pointer by Jack Valone cut the Cavs’ lead to 77-74 with 47.5 seconds left, and a third straight L-P turnover led to the game-tying 3-point shot by Lemont’s Mike Wisz with 28.3 seconds to go.
Yet another L-P turnover gave Lemont a chance to win, but the go-ahead 3-point shot by the Indians was air balled and the Cavs missed a three-quarter-court game-winning 3 at the buzzer to send the contest into OT.
In the extra period, Valone converted a three-point play to give the Indians an 80-77 lead, but a four-point play by Huebbe gave the Cavs the lead back and started a 14-4 closing run.
“After they rallied, we just had to keep our heads up, keep our mental composure and just pick each other up,” Huebbe said. “This was a big win because we want to do as best we can in this tournament.”
While Huebbe finished with 33 points and six rebounds for the Cavs, senior teammate Noah Lamboley added 26 points.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
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