Fifty-five feet and five Friday Harbor defenders stood between La Salle guard Gus Bonny and the basket, but the Lightning junior had a couple of other numbers issues to consider: the six seconds remaining on the game clock, and the tie game on the scoreboard.
Bonny and his coach, second-year Lightning mentor Tim Garza, liked their chances.
“He’s got a great first step,” Garza said. “And he’s just a competitor.”
And Bonny is also remarkably quick, as evidenced by the ease with which he knifed through the crowded lane and put up a scoop layup for the winning basket in the final second of La Salle’s 58-56 victory Friday in the SunDome Shootout.
“We planned on giving me the ball,” said Bonny, who took the inbounds pass for the final play a good three strides into the backcourt. “We didn’t plan on it happening like that, but that’s how it turned out and we just kind of went with it.”
Garza had two plays drawn up, with the ball in Bonny’s hands for him to create the final play — either by taking the ball to the basket, which he did, or driving and dishing. He had plenty of targets for the latter, too; forward Matt Maki had buried his second 3-pointer just three minutes earlier, and Nick Chambard, Ty Lighty and Maki were all in double figures for the game.
But Bonny had been all but unstoppable all day, and nothing — and no one — was stopping his final drive.
“It just worked out to where the lane opened up,” Garza said, “and he does a really good job of getting in there with his footwork. And he hit the game-winner.”
Bonny’s buzzer-beater capped his 19-point, six-rebound performance as the Lightning ran its record to 8-0 heading into tonight’s Shootout finale against Riverside Christian at 7:30 p.m.
This was arguably the toughest of La Salle’s eight victories, the Lightning having blown an 14-point, second-half lead as Wolverine guard Donald Galt scored 10 of his 15 points in the game’s final 11 minutes. Collin Williamson had a 15-point, 13-rebound day for Friday Harbor (5-5), which dominated the boards and actually led twice in the final 3 ½ minutes.
The Wolverines, in fact, had a chance to play for the final shot before turning the ball over on an illegal screen with six seconds left.
Then it was Bonny’s time.
“This was definitely more fun” than some of the team’s more one-sided victories, Bonny said. “We need some close games to get ready, because it’s going to get a lot tougher as the season goes on.”
LA SALLE — Nick Chambard 12, Ty Lighty 10, Gus Bonny 19, Matt Maki 10, Oldham 5, Andringa 2, Gorrebeck 0, McVey 0, Garza 0, Glazier 0. Totals 23-53 6-9 58.
FRIDAY HARBOR — Donald Galt 15, Strasser 3, Woods 8, Collin Williamson 15, Otis Cooper-West 11, Revercomb 2, D. Demaris 0, Lawson 0, B. Allen 2. Totals 22-47 5-9 56.
La Salle 15 17 14 12 — 58
Friday Harbor 11 15 14 16 — 56
3-point goals: LS 6-17 (Lighty 2-5, Maki 2-5, Oldham 1-5, Bonny 1-2), FH 7-10 (Galt 3-4, Williamson 2-2, Cooper-West 1-1 , Strasser 1-1 , Woods 0-1, D. Demeris 0-1). Rebounds: LS 23 (Oldham 7, Bonny 6), FH 34 (Williamson 13, Cooper-West 7). Fouls: LS 14, FH 8. Fouled out: none. Turnovers: LS 12, FH 19. Assists: LS 9 (Lighty 3, Oldham 3), FH 10 (Galt 4).