Buzzer beater nets Fairfield win at MP
With 16 seconds left on the clock and a two-point deficit separating the Fairfield boys’ basketball team from its host, Mt. Pleasant, the Trojans needed someone to step up — and Federico Ferretti took the challenge.
Ferretti sank a 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer to win the Friday-night game for Fairfield, 49-48.
“The kid’s got a confidence about him that’s undeniable,” Coach Tyler Miklo said of Ferretti. “We’ve got a lot of good shooters, but the kids know that at crunch time, he’ll make it happen.”
Ferretti wasn’t sure exactly what he was going to do when the ball landed in his hands.
“I was expecting to take a 2-pointer, or two free throws,” Ferretti said. “But I took the ball, ran through the screen, and just shot the ball, just shot the (3-pointer). I knew it would be a ‘W’ or an ‘L’ and we got the ‘W’.”
The Fairfield junior, a foreign exchange student from Italy, finished with a team-high 16 points against Mt. Pleasant.
“We knew it would be tough, but I really wanted to win because this is a big rivalry between the two towns,” Ferretti said.
It was a tough loss for the Panthers, who battled hard against a Southeast Conference opponent that bested them by just three points earlier this season.
“They’re a nice team, but I thought our kids battled really well,” Rundquist said. “It’s too bad — I thought we deserved to win this game. We’ve got to knock down our free throws late, and we’ll be fine.”
The Panthers missed the front end of a 1-and-1 twice in the final minute of the fourth quarter — and in this game, every point counted.
The conference contest was close all the way through.
Ferretti got the Trojans on the board first, scoring 45 seconds into the game. Trey Magnani took the lead back for Mt. Pleasant with a 3-pointer just 30 seconds later, setting the tone for the back-and-forth game.
After three lead changes, the Panthers had a one-point edge at the end of the first quarter, 15-14.
It was Fairfield that had the narrow advantage in the second quarter, outscoring Mt. Pleasant 11-10.
The Trojans led by a score of 25-23 with just six seconds left in the half, but Mt. Pleasant’s Brandon Sanchez made a pair of free throws to send the teams into the locker room tied at 25.
Magnani opened second-half scoring for Mt. Pleasant the same way he did in the first half — with a 3-pointer.
Fairfield tied it up again with a 3-pointer by Joe Hietpas, but at the end of the quarter, Mt. Pleasant had taken a 4-point lead, 43-39.
In the final eight minutes, the Panthers led the whole way — that is, until the last second of the game, the one that counted most.
Mt. Pleasant had a 5-point edge, 46-41, with less than a minute left to play.
“Our guys have a lot of pride, and they weren’t going to lay down,” Miklo said.
With 39 seconds remaining, Matt Carr made a 3-pointer for Fairfield — his only three points of the game — to bring the Trojans within two, 46-44.
Magnani made a layup to stretch the Panthers’ lead back to four, but Ferretti responded with a long 2-pointer to cut it back to two.
Fairfield fouled Mt. Pleasant immediately, and that was the foul that put the Panthers on the line with 16 seconds left on the clock.
On the night, Magnani scored a game-high 21 points. Sanchez added nine and Pat Canby scored eight.
As a team, Mt. Pleasant shot 16-for-41 from the field (39.0 percent), including 5-for-15 from deep.
Sanchez grabbed a team-high six rebounds; five other Panthers had four rebounds apiece.
Magnani and Sanchez dished out four assists each and five different Panthers had one steal each.
For Fairfield, Landon Gamrath scored 14 points. The Trojans shot 44.4 percent on the night (20-for-45), including 35.2 percent (6-for-17) from 3-point range.
Gamrath also pulled down 14 rebounds for the Trojans. Carr had five rebounds and Jordan Reid grabbed four.
Gamrath blocked three shots and Ferretti blocked two.
Ferretti also dished out three assists and had two steals.
Fairfield is now 7-5 on the season and 2-3 in the Southeast Conference.
The Trojans play at Mid-Prairie in Wellman tonight (Monday).
Mt. Pleasant drops to 5-7 overall and are also 2-3 in the SEC. They begin a four-game week with a trip to Eddyville-Blakesburg tonight.
The Panthers will be back on their home court Tuesday against Muscatine.
MT. PLEASANT (48)
Brandon Sanchez 2 3-4 9, Trey Magnani 8 2-6 21, Dustin Amos 1 1-2 3, Zach Mulford 1 0-1 2, Pat Canby 3 2-3 8, Ben Canby 1 3-4 5.
3-point goals: Magnani (3), Sanchez (2).
Matt Carr 1 0-0 3, Jordan Reid 2 2-2 7, Joe Hietpas 3 0-0 8, Federico Ferretti 7 0-0 16, Alex Crile 0 1-2 1, Landon Gamrath 7 0-1 14.
3-point goals: Hietpas (2), Ferretti (2), Reid, Carr.