Snider had already hit two last-second, highlight-reel worthy buzzer-beaters this season, but Friday it was the Panthers' turn to play defense.
A bucket by senior Dillon Duff put the Panthers up 56-55 at Carroll, but the Chargers took a timeout and had 8.4 seconds to inbound the ball and score.
Chargers sophomore Jalen Jackson inbounded the ball to senior Ray Vollmer, who handed it back off to Jackson. The sophomore drove into the lane and passed it back out to Vollmer. Vollmer took two steps to his left and went up for the jumper, which clanged off the back of the rim. The clock hit zero before either team could take control of the rebound, and Snider escaped with its fifth straight win, three of which have come by one point.
“To say that that didn't go through my mind – is this how we lose? They get one themselves?” Snider coach Jeremy Rauch said after the game. “They hit a tough shot, Dillon scored that big one and we got a big stop on the end. Credit to our guys, they locked in on the defensive end.”
The Panthers (14-3, 5-1 SAC) are now atop the league standings with Bishop Luers, which beat Wayne on Friday night.
Vollmer hit his first two attempts from 3 and Jackson followed to give Carroll (12-3, 4-2) an early 8-2 lead, but even early in the game the Panthers tripped up the usually sure-handed Chargers. Easy layups rolled around and off the rim, and the Chargers racked up the first few of their 17 turnovers.
The Panthers tied the game 8-8 late in the first quarter, and sophomore Karson Jenkins hit a jumper at the buzzer to put Snider up 12-9 at the end of the first quarter. He carried his hot streak into the next period, hitting another jumper from the top of the key and then a 3-pointer, and soon the lead was 19-9. Jenkins went 4 of 4 from 3-point land to finish with 16 points.
Later in the second quarter, Carroll senior Richie Gross scored a desperately needed layup but landed awkwardly on his ankle and had to be helped off the floor. He returned to the game in the second half.
Carroll junior Ryan Preston hit a jumper at the buzzer to cut Snider's lead to 33-23 heading into the locker room.
Snider's lead grew to 12 points in the fourth quarter, but Jackson scored 11 of his game-high 21 points to pull the Chargers back into the game. Vollmer hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 52-51, and then Jackson hit a jumper from near the free throw line to go up 55-54 with 45 seconds left. Snider senior Jon Barnes fed the ball in to Duff, who backed up and turned around for the shot that proved to be the game-winner.
“We always prepare for stuff like that, and we're confident in our ability, but it's always scary until that buzzer sounds and we come off with the win,” Duff said of the final defensive stop. “After I hit that, they were coming down, and we know we have to guard. The game's not over. We kept our composure and played well the entire game.”
Duff finished with 17 points and six rebounds, and junior Michael Eley scored 16 points for the Panthers.