York, PA -
After Red Lion had staged a comeback and taken the lead on a Mike Fox layup with less than a minute to play, Northeastern coach Jon Eyster pointed to his bench during a timeout, sending freshman Donovian Maxfield into the game.
Maxfield, who hadn't played since the junior varsity game ended two hours prior to that moment, worked the ball with a pair of teammates until he spied his opportunity and launched a 3-pointer.
The shot swished through the net with 11 seconds to play, sparking a wild celebration by the Bobcats home crowd.
Still, the Lions had one more chance and Kevin Hutchinson drove to the basket, however his layup hung on the rim before spinning out.
Two Khalid Nwandu free throws later, Northeastern had held on for a 49-45 YAIAA victory.
"I had dreams of (hitting the winning shot). At that point, I didn't expect to get in the game," Maxfield said. "I had to stay calm, focus and don't force anything. The coaches had confidence in me. I always have confidence in my shot."
"That's why he was in the game," Eyster said. "Donovian's a player. We left that timeout and he knew he was free to shoot if he was open."
With the win, the Bobcats improved to 9-6 overall and with its 7-3 divisional record Northeastern sits atop Division II. The Lions dropped to 8-6, 4-5 in Division I.
Maxfield's heroics seemed unlikely early in the fourth quarter. Nwandu, who posted a game-high 27 points, hit a layup and a short while later added a free throw putting the Bobcats up 35-23.
Fox (16 points) canned a pair of 3-pointers during a nine-point Red Lion run that cut the gap to 35-32. Nwandu hit four more free throws, surrounding Blake Cahill's offensive rebound put-back, making it 39-34.
Evan Miller knocked down a 3-pointer, pulling the Lions within two, and Derrick Hoffman was called for an offensive foul on Northeastern's next possession. Miller followed that turnover with another 3, giving Red Lion its first lead since early in the second quarter.
A minute later, Hutchinson nailed a jumper and was fouled. His conventional three-point play put the Lions up 43-39, however Braheem Harvey tipped in an offensive rebound and after a Red Lion turnover, Christian Eyster delivered a 3-pointer putting the Bobcats back in front, 44-43.
"We turned it over four times in the fourth quarter and they made shots. Once they hit some shots, they gained confidence," coach Eyster said of the Lions comeback. "This was a great win for us."
Neither team made shots in the first half. But thanks to a huge performance on the offensive glass, Northeastern went to the intermission on a 14-2 run, leading to a 20-14 halftime advantage.
Nwandu, who scored 16 of his team's points during the opening 16 minutes, knew it wasn't a stellar half.
"You just have to persevere through it," he said. "We are going to get our shots."
The senior didn't hesitate when asked which he preferred, his 27 points or Maxfield's three.
"His three -- definitely. I will take that any day," Nwandu said.
RED LION (45)
Miller 3 1-2 9, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Huson 1 0-0 2, McCreary 0 0-0 0, Mike Fox 7 0-1 16, Hutchinson 3 2-3 8, Cahill 3 2-2 8, Rebuck 0 0-2 0, Wunbaugh 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 5-10 45.
Khalid Nwandu 8 9-11 27, Riley 4 1-1 9, Coleman 0 0-0 0, Wade 1 0-0 2, Ko. Nwandu 1 0-2 2, Marshall 0 0-0 0, Bajrami 0 0-0 0, Maxfield 1 0-0 3, Eyster 2 0-0 6, Hoffman 0 0-2 0. Totals 17 10-16 49.
Red Lion 6 8 9 22 -- 45
Northeastern 6 14 12 17 -- 49
3-point goals -- Red Lion 4 (Miller 2, Fox 2); Northeastern 5 (Kh. Nwandu 2, Eyster 2, Maxfield).
JV score -- Northeastern 44-35.