Springfield sophomore guard Dae’Shawn Jackson takes three deep breaths before every free throw. He picked up that routine in eighth grade on the advice of his grandpa, Willie Arnold.
“He doesn’t even know basketball,” Jackson said. “He just said, ‘Breathe, Dae, breathe.’ That was his thing, and I did it.”
Jackson showed poise at the line Friday night, hitting all eight of his free-throw attempts, but it was his 3-pointer with five seconds left in the fourth quarter that saved the Wildcats and led to a 77-76 double-overtime victory over Beavercreek.
Jackson’s shot, which tied the game at 65-65, was a running one-handed floater from the top of the 3-point line. Beavercreek’s Kyle Rader couldn’t have guarded Jackson any closer.
“I was looking to pass it, but then at the last minute, I had confidence in myself that I could make it,” Jackson said. “I didn’t expect it to go in at first. I made it and felt really good after that.”
Jackson had nine of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and then scored nine more in the two overtime periods. Ryan Minney led the Wildcats with 27 points.
Springfield trailed by as many as 11 in the first half, but rallied to tie 27-27 at halftime. The Wildcats trailed 44-36 after three quarters and were down by as many as 12 in the fourth.
“I’m proud of my guys,” Springfield coach Isiah Carson said. “We could have given up. There was a minute and 20 to go, and we’re down six, and people started to leave the stands. Our guys kept fighting. That’s what you’ve got to do at the end of the day. It’s not always going to be pretty.”
Springfield improved to 10-8 and 3-5 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Division. It avenged a 64-49 loss at Beavercreek on Jan. 4.
Rader and Jalen Camper each scored 22 points for Beavercreek (13-6, 4-4). The Beavers missed buzzer-beating shots at the end of the fourth quarter and the first overtime.
Springfield pulled ahead for good with 1:45 left in the second overtime on a jumper by Minney. The Wildcats made 7-of-10 free throws in the second overtime, while Beavercreek made 3-of-7. Beavercreek made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it a one-point game.