Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
WASHINGTON - The final horn sounds and there are zeros on the scoreboard clock with the Demons score at 48 and guest at 47. Then a whistle blows. And suspense begins to mix with confusion. A good host treats guests well and Grinell was Thursday's guest in a substate semifinal boys basketball game.
An off-balance corner 3-pointer hit rim then Owen Coffman grabbed it and was fouled. Was it before or after the horn? The refs confer. The 6-foot-9 Coffman goes to the line and players are sent to the sidelines. Now the officials put .007 on the time players return, ready to rebound, The crowd's confusion turns to a mix of hope and dread.
Coffman was 1-for-5 in the game on free throws to that point but he finishes 3-for-7 and it is a 49-48 Grinnell victory after Kasen Bailey heaves the ball for a possible Washington miracle from 60 feet away. But the miracle had already happened, for the guests.
'Standing by myself or with guys on the side, it didn't really matter to me,” said Coffman, who had 25 points. 'I just knew I had to come in clutch and shoot my shots. The ones I missed earlier? I just flushed them out of my mind.”
He scored eight straight in the second quarter to rally the Tigers after Trashaun Willis had fueled an explosive Washington start.
He had a steal on the Tigers first possession, made a 3-pointer, blocked a shot, hit a two. Noah Suchan got a steal, Ethan Patterson hit a triple, Willis canned a triple, blocked a shot and got a thunder dunk in traffic!
The first of Cole McGriff's five 3-pointers for Grinnell closed the first quarter, stole momentum and it was just a 15-11 Demon lead.
AJ Wilkins trey closed the second quarter for Grinnell's biggest lead to that point 31-25.
'I think that was a turning point,” Demon head coach Collin Stark said, 'The tide turned at the end of the first half.”
The tide kept rolling as Coffman scored the first six points of the second half and it's a double-digit lead. Kasen Baily scored five of his Demon-leading 17 points to close to 37-30 but Coffman got a dunk and McGriff canned a three to lead 42-31.
'This team is special,” Stark said. 'They are all so close and they refuse to give up.”
A 10-2 run makes the deficit 44-41, but from 4:40 remaining to 2:56, Grinnell goes 2-for-6 on free throws and gets the rebound every time. Three straight offensive rebounds and Coffman was sitting on the bench.
'We can't allow those or it ends different,” Stark said.
Three Tigers scored 48 points. Coffman and McGriff's 16 points totaled 41 with Wilkins seven. Willis finished with 13 rebounds and 15 points. Patterson scored eight, Leyden seven.
'We've got to talk about Travis,” Stark said. 'I was ready to call time, but the shot is up, you're hoping and praying and then it's swishing.” Leyden's defense got the Demons to that point with seven steals. He did that with an ankle that kept him from starting. Lance Sobaski did not play because of an ankle injury Wednesday in practice.
'It's just unfortunate we didn't get the last bounce,” Stark said.