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Three-point buzzer-beater leads to week of tight wins for JAWS

Video: JAWS buzzer-beater - crowd goes wild

Four: The J.A. Williams Sharks sink a two-pointer, but the Lac La Biche team is still trailing 54-52 in the dying seconds to their St. Paul rivals.

Three:  St. Paul's resulting in-bound pass is a grenade toss, air-balled to their player at centre court.

Two: The ball is bobbled. It deflects off a Sharks defender, bouncing over heads —  and into the hands of Lac La Biche's #3 Zach Przybylski, still running back to play defence.

One: a quick pivot with the ball, three steps, two bounces, one pump fake — and a three pointer that...

Zero: ...drops.

As the score clock rounds out to all zeroes, the scoreboard shows 55 for the home team, 54 for the visitors.

The crowd of two dozen young spectators goes wild.

And that ending was just the beginning of what's been a pretty good week of hardwood highlights for the J. A. Williams High School senior basketball teams. 

The Jan. 11 game between the JAWS Sharks and the St. Paul Regional High School Saints finished in heartbreak or heroics depending on the team. On the Sharks' Bold Center main court, the home team had slowly chomped away at a St. Paul lead that ran most of the game ... until the final moments.

The final seconds were recorded by Sharks' fan Fiona Dizon — showing the last play and the celebration — on the court and in the stands  — that followed.

In a team chat after the heart-breaker, the St. Paul coach told his team they played well, and the last shot was little more than fate.

JAWS coach Andrew Przybylski said it was a well-deserved piece of fate for a game where his team never game up the fight.

The last second buzzer-beater was pretty dramatic — and it was scored by his own son — but the coach said overall, the entire JAWS team earned all the points on their side of the scoreboard

"Our boys trailed several times — by 10 with four minutes left — but they kept with the game plan," said the coach. 

Video - Fiona Dizon

On the girls side that same day no buzzer-beater was required, as the Sharks won 58-52 over their St. Paul opponents

"They played an all around good game," said Przybylski, who is also the Athletic Direct at JAWS. "They rebounded well."

Going for the Cup

The good vibes continued for the JAWS squads, went to the final rounds of the Crusaders Charity Cup tournament hosted by Cold Lake's Assumption High School last Friday and Saturday. The JAWS boys won the tournament for the second year in a row, and the third time in the event's last four runnings. The JAWS girls won in the consolation finals. 

Przybylski said the girls got off to a tough start, losing their first game to Fort McMurray's Ecole McTavish — but they bounced back strong.

"Their next two games, they beat the Saints from Vegreville 39-29 and then Notre Dame from Bonnyville 55-17.

The boys started the tournament in a similar situation — minus the buzzer-beater — to their last game, inching out a one-point win, this time against the Ecole McTavish boys 75-74. The Sharks next beat a regional squad from the South Central division of the Alberta Schools' Athletic Association 76-71. The final game, against Fort McMurray's Wildwood High School was another single-point decision, with the Sharks up 75-74 at the final buzzer.

 Both the boys and girls Sharks team continue their league play this week in the Lakeland Schools Athletics Association basketball league.

Rob McKinley

About the Author: Rob McKinley

Rob has been in the media, marketing and promotion business for 30 years, working in the public sector, as well as media outlets in major metropolitan markets, smaller rural communities and Indigenous-focused settings.
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