GALESBURG — Opening a new coaching era in the Galesburg Thanksgiving Tournament, the Moline Maroons went equipped with a very reliable GPS — their Game Plan Schimmel.|
In his varsity head-coaching debut, Jeff Schimmel got a timeout with .9 of a second left in the fourth quarter and his players executed his play call to perfection. With Drew Owens taking an inbound pass from Derrick Stabler and hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer, Moline emerged with a 57-56 victory over Englewood on Wednesday night.
"He's never going to forget this one," Owens said of his coach.
Schimmel's opener that ended in the memorable thrill started with memorable oddity. Englewood, out of Chicago, arrived at Thiel Gym well after the scheduled start of 6 p.m. Coach Lorenzo Donegan said the bus' GPS gave the Eagles the shortest route rather than the quickest "and we wound up taking all of the back roads," he said as the teams warmed up for the half-hour-late tipoff.
As for the Maroons' destination, Schimmel says, there really isn't one for their drive through the regular-season.
"We just need to get better every game," he said. "We know we have to recover fast; the word is out now, with us losing a 16-point lead. People are going to wonder what this group is about. There are going to be a lot of eyes and a lot of concerns."
Yet, as Owens points out, "We got the W. We need to play our style of basketball, run our sets and build from there."
Moline led 42-26 midway through the third quarter and by 11 (46-35) a minute into the fourth. That, though, is when the Eagles forced the Maroons to play their style of game, creating nine Moline turnovers in the quarter. Englewood scored 13 straight and outscored the Maroons 20-4 to take a 55-50 lead with :55 left.
Owens scored all seven of Moline's points down the stretch, getting 12 of his game-high 22 in the fourth quarter.
"I was just hoping we had enough time to get a final shot," Owens said of the timeout that came with less than a second left.
And how much time is that?
"Nine-tenths of a second," Owens smiled.
"Jed (Wood) and (Brandon) Vice set up a good clothesline screen and Josh (Larson) had a hard cut to the basket that really got me open. And Derrick delivered the perfect pass, right to my chest."
"That," said Schimmel, "is exactly how we drew it up."