Unsung hero beats buzzer; Young upsets Prestonwood

Gabriel Snider hadn’t scored a basket all night.

In a Beach Ball Classic quarterfinal filled with some of the top basketball players in the nation, that wasn’t his role.

So it came as a surprise to the crowd at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center – and certainly to the Prestonwood Christian (Texas) defense – when the unheralded 6-foot-1 guard took the ball the length of the floor and hit the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Whitney Young (Chicago) to a 46-44 upset victory over the No. 5 team in the nation.

Snider inbounded the ball under his own basket and took the pass back, giving him fewer than 5 seconds to dribble the length of the floor and fire off a trey over the outstretched arms of a defender. The ball bounced off the glass as the final horn sounded, sending the crowd into a frenzy and putting him at the bottom of a dogpile of teammates.

The unbelievable basket ended what had been a defensive battle on both ends between the two teams whose offensive stars struggled against the heavy defensive pressure.

Prestonwood managed to effectively double team 6-9 sophomore Jahlil Okafor with a front-back frame that denied him the pass and forced him to miss some contested shots when he did get the inlet pass. On the other end, Whitney Young successfully used a 2-3 zone and Okafor did an excellent job inside of challenging 6-11 center Zach Peters and 6-9 forward Julius Randle, who scored a game-high 14.

All the defensive keying opened the door for some role players to step up and help their teams. Whitney Young’s Jordan Smith came off the bench to score a game-high 14 points, including six straight during a late stretch in the game and a putback in the final minute to retake the lead. Prestonwood’s Austin Rettig scored 12 points and hit a clutch 3 at the halftime buzzer and back-to-back clutch baskets late to tie the game in the final 1:30.

But no one expected a relative no-name to take the game-winner. Okafor, who got a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, got the ball down low in the final minute but was triple-teamed. He rotated the ball around to Marquan Bradley, who looked like he might be the hero by scoring his only two to give Prestonwood a 44-43 lead with six seconds left.

That’s when Snider worked his magic. After almost being called for five seconds but wisely calling a timeout to prevent a turnover, he went coast-to-coast and calmly sank the game-winner for his first points of the night. The shot sent Whitney Young into Friday’s semifinal against Lone Peak (Utah).

 

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