Julian Samuels took the ball from inbounds to basket on a floor-length dribble drive to put Annawan over Wethersfield 51-50 in the final game of the Wally Keller Invitational on Saturday at Wethersfield’s Main Gym.

The play started with 9.8 seconds left. Samuels started on the right side, crossed over to the left at midcourt, then angled for the top of the key. From there he sliced to the basket for a layin with 2.1 seconds left.

“We wanted to space the floor, try to give Julian an opportunity,” Annawan coach Alex Coppejans said. “He’s been working really hard in the offseason, and I wanted to give him a time to shine. He took advantage of it. Ended up making a pretty tough shot.”

Wethersfield got time called with 1.3 left. On the next play, it attempted a floor-length heave from Waylon Bryant on the inbounds to Brady Kelley, who tried to tap it back to Coltin Quagliano for a buzzer-beater, but the ball was deflected.

Samuels’ game-winner capped a furious rally in which these two schools — co-op partners in most other sports — competed like it was an old-fashioned barn burner.

“Playing against my teammates. Coltin on the other team. I love to compete against him,” Samuels said. “It’s super fun. It’s like playing against your best friend, backyard stuff.”

Wethersfield took its first lead, 39-38, on a Quagliano pullup jumper with 5:04 left. It stretched that out to six when Kale Nelson nailed a 3-pointer to make it 48-42 with 1:37 to go.

With a minute left and the score 48-44 on a basket by Reece Gripp, Wethersfield went to a spread offense to work time off the clock. After a missed free throw, Annawan got the ball back and Gripp hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 48-47 with 27.4 seconds left.

Annawan called time to apply a fullcourt press. On a broken play, the ball got loose, bounded high toward the right sidelines. Annawan saved it from going out of bounds near midcourt and the looping pass went straight to Gripp who laid it in.

Isaac Shaw fouled out to put Quagliano on the line with 9.8 left. Quagliano made both free throws, giving Wethersfield the 50-49 lead. After a timeout, Annawan inbounded to Samuels to start the game-winning play.

“Fun game to watch,” Wethersfield coach Jeff Parsons said. “Started out, a little stagnant on five days’ legs. They’re telling their legs to move, mind’s saying, ‘I ain’t got much left.’ Long week. Very proud of them, both teams. It was awesome.”

Samuels finished with 18 points. Gripp had 17 points. Both players were selected for the all-tournament team. Annawan went 4-1 to finish second in the round-robin tournament.

Quagliano had 18 points and was the tournament most valuable player. Brady Kelley added 15 points and Nelson had 10 points. Wethersfield went 3-2 for third place.

Elmwood went undefeated for the tournament title, beating Stark County 59-45 on Saturday. Andrew Marincic had 18 points and Braden McFall had 13 points for Elmwood. Kane Newton had 13 points and Ryan Murphy had 12 points for Stark County.

Bureau Valley beat Putnam County 65-63 on Dalton Dean’s baseline 3 at the buzzer. Bureau Valley rallied from a 59-48 deficit with 3:43 left. Dean had 12 points and Adam Johnson had 18 points. For Putnam County, Jacob Williams had 18 points and Jakob Pyszka had 14 points.

 

 

FRIDAY’S GAMES

Dalton Dean had 15 points as Bureau Valley beat Stark County 67-43. For Stark County, Raiden Porter had 11 points

Annawan beat Putnam County 71-49. Annawan’s Julian Samuels had 23 points and Reece Gripp had 19 points. For PC, Matthew Liebhart had 14 points and Jakob Pyszka had 13 points.

Elmwood beat Wethersfield 44-43 with a fourth-quarter rally. Braden McFall had 19 points for Elmwood. For Wethersfield, Coltin Quagliano had 21 points and Schuyler Melton had 11 points.