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By staff writer
Call it the “Hail Mary” play on Valentine’s Day that pulled out a 44-42 basketball win for the Hermann Bearcats at New Haven last Thursday night. Collin Hart broke the hearts of the Shamrocks.
New Haven’s Kyle Ruediger was holding the ball near mid-court with the score knotted at 42-all, playing for the last shot as time was winding down. Up from behind came the Bearcats’ Collin Hart, who knocked the ball out of Ruediger’s hands. Hart retrieved it on a breakaway and sprinted to the basket for a layup as time expired, giving Hermann the Four Rivers Conference win. Ruediger chased Hart to the basket and the ball dropped through the net with no time left.
It was Hart’s only basket of the quarter, but it was a game-winner for the Bearcats, who had lost to the Shamrocks by five points just a week ago in the third place game of the Hermann Tournament.
“You don’t see games end that way very often,” said Hermann Coach Tim Spiers. “It was one of those things where a senior made a good play.”
Hermann held the lead through most of the game until the Shamrocks closed the gap in the final quarter.
In the opening quarter, Hart, Josh Oetterer and Craig Winkelmann all hit 3-pointers as the Bearcats took a 16-14 lead. They held a 27-20 edge at the half, and took a 36-28 lead into the final 8 minutes.
After the Shamrocks tied the score at 42-42, they held the ball the last 2:23 of the game for the final shot. Hermann was in a man-to-man defense, and New Haven went into a set play in the final 15 seconds. That’s when the ball ended up in the hands of Ruediger, who held it above his head. Hart, who was guarding another New Haven player, left his man and slipped behind Ruediger to make the steal.
“We did a nice job of defending the ball the last 2 minutes, and Collin made a good read,” Spiers said.
Hermann built leads as large as 11 points in the first half
Matt Hug led Hermann with 16 points, 13 coming in the second half. Hart finished with nine while Garrett Leimkuehler and Winkelmann each had six.
Ruediger paced New Haven with 12 points. Seth Schenck added 11 and Brandon Carey had 10.
Josh Schannuth led Hermann in rebounding with five. Leimkuehler had five assists and Winkelmann four.