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BLOOMINGTON — The Fieldcrest boys basketball team lost the lead early in the fourth quarter against Quincy Notre Dame and had a fierce rally fall just short as the Knights lost 46-44 in a State Farm Classic semifinal Friday at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Shirk Center.
The Knights led 30-28 entering the fourth quarter when the Raiders began to make their move.
Tony Stella hit a jumper to move QND into the lead at 33-32.
That’s when Fieldcrest coach Matt Winkler called a timeout. The official asked Winkler if he wanted a 30-second or full timeout, and Winkler responded that he wanted a 30-second break.
At that point, the official whistled Winkler for a technical foul.
QND hit both free throws, and on the ensuing possession, Sam Douglas drained a 3-pointer to put the Raiders up 40-32.
“That was my fault for getting the technical,” Winkler said. “It shouldn’t have happened and I blame myself there. It was a huge call at that point of the game and I take the blame there.”
Moments later, the QND lead grew to 43-33 before Jackson Puetz hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 43-36.
Seconds later, Fieldcrest’s Brady Sanders hit a 3-pointer of his own.
Alex Fitch hit a pair of free throws for QND, but Fieldcrest freshman Drew Barth responded with a 3-pointer to make it a 45-42 QND lead with less than 45 seconds left.
QND’s Chris Dietrich then missed both of his attempts from the charity stripe, and Fieldcrest’s Kyle Crowley took advantage as he converted a layup to cut the Raiders’ lead to 45-44.
The Knights then fouled Fitch — the Raiders’ top free throw shooter. Fitch hit just 1-of-2 to give the Raiders a 46-44 lead with less than 10 seconds left.
Sanders raced down the floor and made a pass to a wide-open Nick Panzica, who put up the 3-point attempt from the corner.
The shot was online and went halfway down and bounced back out, giving the Raiders the 46-44 victory and sending them into the championship game.
“We made a really nice comeback there in the final minute being down nine points,” Winkler said. “We made a couple of 3-pointers and then they missed a couple of free throws. Then Brady (Sanders) had a great pass to Nick (Panzica) there at the end, and man that thing looked like it was three-fourths of the way down and came back out. Great game, but we came up just a little bit short tonight.”
Both teams’ defenses shined in the first half with only 27 points being scored between the two teams.
A Panzica 3-pointer gave the Knights a 7-6 lead after the first quarter.
The Knights then limited the Raiders to five second-quarter points while extending their lead to 16-11 at halftime.
Sanders led all scorers with 15 points while Panzica added nine. Douglas and Fitch each had 11 for QND.
Fieldcrest now faces Providence St. Mel for third place at 1:30 p.m. today at the Shirk Center.