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Guiheen Beats the Buzzer to Keep Northwestern Unbeaten...Story by John Torsiello.
By, JOHN TORSIELLO
It was déjà vu all over again for Northwestern senior Connor Guiheen. Well, almost. It was a different town and a different gym but the same team and same result, that being a last second shot that beat the buzzer and gave his club a 44-41 victory over arch-rival Nonnewaug Friday night in Winsted.
“I made a shot to beat them at their place last year with two seconds on the clock,” said Guiheen, who had 20 points, including the dramatic game-winning three-point shot from the outside the right side of key. “The play was designed to get an open shot for anyone on the floor because we all trust one another in that situation. I’m just happy I made it.”
The win kept Northwestern unbeaten at 11-0, while Nonnewaug, which lost to the Highlanders for the second time in a week, fell to 7-4.
Ironically, it was Guiheen that started the final play by holding the ball per Northwestern coach Doug Sebach’s instructions with a minute and a half left and the game tied.
“I wanted the last shot in regulation and if we missed we were going to overtime,” said the mentor. “We were in kind of a wait and see mode when we were holding the ball and when they didn’t come out to play us tight, we had the situation we wanted.”
Guiheen held the ball on his right hip as the Nonnewaug defense settled back and watched. With 10 seconds left, he began his move, kicked the ball to teammate Arthur Lefevre, who was set upon by two Nonnewaug defenders on the right side of the court. Lefevre managed to find Guiheen, who was open and the senior settled himself and let go a perfect shot that swished through the net as the horn sounded. The Highlander faithful stormed the court in a scene befitting a last-second state tournament victory.
“It was fun to see everybody out of the court after I hit the shot,” said Guiheen. “I knew how much time there was when I passed the ball to Arthur and I just wanted to not put up a wild shot but take a good shot.”
Guiheen got that good shot because Lefevre was able to make a heads up play and see that he was being double-teamed in time to get rid of the rock to his teammate.
“It was the same sort of thing that happened at Nonnewaug last year,” said Guiheen, referring to the pass from Lefevre.
Like last week’s game, won a tad easier by Northwestern, 55-39, Friday night’s contest was a rough and tumble affair. Neither team backed down, Northwestern applying immense defensive pressure all over the court and Nonnewaug playing physical half-court “D” and hitting the boards with abandon. And like last Friday’s game at Nonnewaug, both teams struggled shooting the ball.
Nonnewaug might have found itself in a huge hole if not for the offense of senior Greg Porcelli, who had 22 points, including four three-pointers. He scored 12 of his team’s 21 points by halftime and continued his stellar efforts in the second half.
Northwestern had a 17-11 advantage when Jim Phillips scored to start the second half and was sitting on a five-point advantage at intermission.
Nonnewaug put together a 7-1 run to start the third period and when workhorse Dylan Martland put in an offensive rebound with 4:50 left in the quarter, the visitors had their first lead of the game, 28-26.
Northwestern retook the lead but Nonnewaug came back again and tied it several times during the final minutes of the third and in the fourth period. When Ben Timme canned two free throws with 1:57 left he made the score 41-all and set the stage for the final drama that would ensue.
“We’re happy to be 11-0,” said Sebach. “It’s another win and we move on to the next game,” which for Northwestern is next Tuesday at Shepaug.
Northwestern 44, Nonnewaug 41
Nonnewaug 11 10 13 7 41
Northwestern 15 10 10 9 44
Nonnewaug (7-4): Christian Metallo 0 2 2, Keith Rado 0 1 1, Ben Timme 1 4 6, Dylan Martland 4 2 10, Greg Porcelli 7 4 22. Neil Mendoza 0 0 0. Totals: 12 13 41
Northwestern (11-0): John Stevens 3 0 8, Peter Persechino 0 0 0, Arthur Lefevre 1 2 4, John Lippincott 1 0 2, Eric Weingart 1 0 2, Connor Guiheen 7 5 20, Kyle Gain 0 0 0, Jim Phillips 3 0 6, Mike Jefko 1 0 2. Totals: 16 9 44.
3-pt. goals: Non.-Porcelli (4); Nor. Guiheen and Stevens.