BEDFORD — As the clock wound down, Windham’s Joey DaSilva held the basketball on the right wing with his team down by two. Teammates moved frantically around him but the plan was never to move the ball. Instead, DaSilva jabbed once and pulled up for three.
The ball seemed to be in the air forever, but with less than a second left on the clock, it splashed through. Jaguars 58, Bulldogs 56.
“I told him jokingly last week, because he’s hit about five buzzer beaters at the end of quarters this year, not for the game but in general, is we’re going to hold the ball until there’s 10 seconds left in the quarter and then we’re gonna let you shoot a three,” Windham coach EJ Perry said after Friday night’s Division I thriller. “When I saw it release from his hands I knew it was in. I had a great look from my spot on the bench.”
The buzzer beater was DaSilva’s second of the game. He hit one at the end of the second quarter to pull Windham within five points going into the halftime break. Overall he shot 4-of-8 from beyond the arc and had 18 points.
“Coach gives me a lot of confidence because I was struggling a little bit in that first half,” DaSilva said. “He just kept telling me to keep shooting. My teammates and my coaches are always on me to keep shooting as a joke in practice but in the game they really want me to. I love my guys.”
Westin Lippold (20 points) was a big reason DaSilva was in a position to win the game in the first place. Trailing 54-52 with 1:40 left in fourth, the lefty hit a three from the left corner to put Windham up one. That allowed the Jaguars to keep pace when Bedford’s Connor Butts hit a pair of free throws 20 seconds later to recapture the lead for the Bulldogs.
“... That was a helluva shot the kid hit,” Bedford coach Mark Elmendorf said. “I knew right away that it was in. It was just a perfect shot. We played hard but they just beat us.”
Bedford (2-2) was in the driver’s seat for the majority of the game, leading the way at the end of the first half and again at the end of the third. The Jaguars were often dealing with foul trouble and had to figure out a way to hang on when Lippold was forced from the game with four fouls at the 2:47 mark in the third quarter. Rocky Heres was a big part of that, making two consecutive “and-one” layups to keep the Jaguars in it.
Luckily for Windham, Lippold was fresh for the fourth and put up eight points in the frame.
“Just to get to 3-1 after last season shows our leadership from guys like Luke Schramm and Riley (Desmarais),” Perry said. “Rocky Heres, too. They helped us do the work over the summer. I’m just proud of them and proud of the way we stepped up.”
Richard Ravenelle was Bedford’s leading scorer with 16 points. Justin O’Neill finished with 12.