Rosser's buzzer beater keeps East Kentwood's perfect season aliveBasketball  |
Hudsonville – Its undefeated season on the line, East Kentwood, ranked No. 3 in Class A, needed someone special to step up and take the final shot with the score tied in the closing moments of regulation.
No surprise that it was junior Micah Rosser.
Rosser asked East Kentwood coach Jeff Anama to let him take the last shot while the Falcons huddled with 7.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter during a timeout to set up one final shot on Tuesday. And for the third time in a magical season, Rosser delivered with a game-winning 3-point shot.
It clinched a dramatic come-from-behind 52-49 victory in the highly competitive Ottawa Kent Conference Red Division.
East Kentwood (18-0) clinched first place at 9-0 with one division game left.
“I asked for the ball to get it in in the backcourt," Rosser said "I just sized my man up. He was stopping me from getting to the basket, so I pulled up. In the timeout, I said just let me get the ball and do what I can do to win the game.
“I knew it was good as soon as I shot it. I really like those moments. I like when we have pressure on us. I like to step up and take those kinds of shots. It's really special.”
This was expected to be East Kentwood's toughest test before the state tournament and Hudsonville (11-7, 6-3 OK Red) did its part in an attempt to play the spoiler.
The Eagles, playing in front of a large crowd on its home court, held the Falcons to just 1-of-11 shooting from the field in the first half.
East Kentwood, which trailed 24-12 at the intermission, scored the first basket of the game following an offensive rebound, but didn't hit another field goal until the third quarter. The Falcons had a scoreless stretch of more than 7:30 at one point and had only three points on free throws in the final 3:01 of the second quarter.
A late third-quarter run featured 3-point field goals from senior Darron Ewing and junior Marlon Dorsey sandwiched around a Rosser dunk on the fast break, pulling the Falcons to within 38-34 after three quarters.
It wasn't until junior point guard Brandon Fuller hit a 3-pointer with 50.2 seconds left to play that East Kentwood knotted the score at 49-49. A turnover by the Eagles on the next possession set the stage for Rosser.
“It's the third time this year Micah has either tipped in a game winner or made a game winner,” Anama said. “I didn't want to get the timeout when we did with seven seconds left. I actually wanted less time, but it worked out just like we wanted.
“We cleared out for him. He looked to drive it, the kid backed off him and he pulled up and hit a 3. The rest was a celebration.”
Anama said there was never any doubt who was going to get the last shot.
“He likes the pressure” he said of Rosser. “He's done it all year. He's not always the best for three quarters, but he always seems to be at his best when the game is on the line.”
Rosser finished with 15 points.
He had help from Ewing, who scored 13, senior Brett Kimbrel, who contributed seven, junior Andrew Madison, who had six, Dorsey, who added five, and Fuller, who finished with four.
“It was our goal from the beginning of the season – to go undefeated,” Rosser said of the Falcons surviving another close call. “We knew looking at our schedule it was a possibility we could go undefeated.”
Brent Hibbitts led Hudsonville with 14 points. He hit a fallaway jumper from 15 feet in the second quarter that made him the school's all-time-leading scorer, surpassing Mark Zichterman, who played at Cornerstone University.
“It's a special thing for him and for us as a program,” Hudsonville coach Eric Elliott said of Hibbitts.
Levi Lubbers, a junior guard, scored 10 points off the bench for the Eagles. Kyle Toth, a senior guard, and Adam Van Laar, a junior forward, finished with six points apiece.