Nate English stepped to the foul line with 0.6 seconds left on the clock in overtime and Albert Gallatin down by two points at Hempfield Monday night.
The 1,000-point scorer had been fouled while shooting a potential game-winning 3-pointer and was about to show why he’s considered one of the Colonials’ all-time best players as he faced the ultimate pressure situation.
English sank all three free throws to cap a 26-point performance and give Class 5A Albert Gallatin a dramatic 67-66 non-section win over the Spartans, one of the top-ranked teams in Class 6A.
“They had trouble handling Nate all night,” Colonials coach Shea Fleenor said. “He was dominant.”
The end of regulation and overtime was a whirlwind, according to Fleenor.
“It was all kind of crazy,” he said.
The Colonials (10-5) were down 60-59 when Hunter Sexton hit a 3-point shot to give AG a two-point lead with five seconds left in the fourth quarter. A controversial foul call followed that gave Hempfield (11-4) two foul shots, which it made to tie it at 62-62, and the ball.
“We got a defensive stop to get the game into overtime,” Fleenor said.
The Spartans then led by two in the extra frame when English found himself with the ball and the clock ticking down.
“He did a jump stop, shot fake and got fouled on a 3-pointer,” Fleenor said. “Then he was money at the line.”
Albert Gallatin built a 35-25 halftime lead before the Spartans rallied to within 45-43 after three periods to set up the frantic finish.
Ja’Shir Kean followed English with 11 points for the Colonials.
The victory couldn’t have come at a better time for Albert Gallatin with the WPIAL preparing to release its basketball playoff pairings on Tuesday night.
“The one thing we didn’t have on our resume yet was that tough win on the road facing adversity,” Fleenor said. “We had been in that situation a couple times and it hadn’t worked out for us.
“It came at the perfect time with the playoffs coming up. Hopefully, we’re peaking.”
Christian Zilli scored 22 points to lead the Spartans who also got 11 points from Sean Gordon and 10 points from Joe Fiedor 10.
Carmichaels 58, California 55 — The Mikes three-headed monster of Chris Barrish, Drake Long and Michael Stewart offset a 25-point performance from California’s Nate O’Savage and lifted Carmichaels to a Section 4-AA victory.
Barrish scored a team-high 22 points while Stewart and Long put up 18 apiece for the host Mikes (5-3, 9-4) who moved ahead of the Trojans (4-3, 4-4) into a tie with Monessen for second place in the section.
Carmichaels led 14-12 after one quarter and 24-20 at halftime before California pulled even with a 16-12 edge in the third quarter.
The Mikes surged ahead in the fourth to win by three, thanks in large part to Long who made a pair of 3-pointers and was 6-for-8 at the foul line over the final eight minutes. Barrish was 4-for-4 from the charity stripe down the stretch.
Payton Conte tallied 10 points for California.
Frazier 44, Monessen 41 — Owen Newcomer scored a game-high 18 points as the Commodores made sure they wouldn’t be sharing their Section 4-AA title with anyone by holding off the Greyhounds.
Newcomer made four 3-pointers and also sank a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to give Frazier (8-1, 16-3) a four-point lead that all but sealed the victory.
The Commodores led 14-9 and 27-15 at halftime before Monessen out-scored the hosts 18-9 in the third to get within 36-33.
Chas Mrlack led the Greyhounds (5-2, 7-7) with 11 points.
Burgettstown 60, Bentworth 38 — Burgettstown out-scored the host Bearcats 39-13 in the middle two quarters to secure a non-section win.
Bentworth built a 10-7 lead in the first quarter before the Blue Devils took over.
Jackson LaRocka led Burgettstown (7-11) with 24 points.
Landon Urcho tallied 19 points for the Bearcats (1-12).
Chartiers-Houston 58, Southmoreland 53 — The Bucs rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the visiting Scotties in a non-section game.
Chartiers-Houston (7-11) led 15-13 after one quarter. Southmoreland (2-16) went up 33-24 at halftime and held a 44-40 advantage after three before the hosts used an 18-9 edge over the final eight minutes to pull out the win.
Ahlijah Vaden topped C-H in scoring with 19 points, Austin Arnold had 15, Jake Mele added 12.
The Scotties were led by Ty Keffer with 16 points and Zach Cernuto with 14.
Albert Gallatin 41, Connellsville 15 — The host Lady Colonials marched out to a 17-3 lead over Connellsville in the first quarter and stayed in control the rest of the way in winning the Section 3-AAAAA match-up.
Bryn Bezjak led Albert Gallatin (8-4, 13-5) with eight points.
Mallory Orndorff scored five points for the Lady Falcons (5-5, 5-6).
Southmoreland 50, Ligonier Valley 29 — Gracie Spadaro dropped in 20 points as the Lady Scotties cruised past host Ligonier Valley in a Section 3-AAAA game.
Southmoreland led 13-5, 27-11 and 38-16 at the breaks.
Olivia Cernuto added 15 points for the Lady Scotties (11-1, 14-3) and Maddie Moore contributed 11 points.
Amanda Woods scored eight points for the Lady Rams (0-10, 0-12).
Washington 46, Charleroi 40 — The Lady Prexies fended off host Charleroi for a Section 2-AAA win.
Washington (4-5, 6-8) held leads of 10-9 after one period, 24-19 at halftime and 31-25 after three quarters.
Kiera Woods was the Lady Prexies’ leading scorer with 13 points and Sam Maurer had 10.
Leena Henderson tallied a game-high 15 points for the Lady Cougars (5-5, 7-8) and McKenna DeUnger followed with 10 points.
Frazier 47, Beth-Center 37 — Kaelyn Shaporka totaled 10 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and four steals as the Lady Commodores defeated host Beth-Center in a Section 2-AA game.
Kendall Shaporka added 12 points and four boards, and Delaney Warnick contributed 10 points, and seven rebounds for Frazier (2-6, 4-12) which has won two straight following a six-game losing streak.
Julia Orgrodowski put in a game-high 19 points for the Lady Bulldogs (0-8, 3-12) and Anna Sloan had 16 points as the duo accounted for all but two of B-C’s total on the night.
California 43, Carmichaels 23 — Makayla Boda scored 14 points as the Lady Trojans toppled host Carmichaels in a Section 2-AA game.
The second-place Lady Trojans (6-1, 8-3) led 13-4 after one period and 22-8 at halftime before riding a 16-2 edge in the third to a commanding 35-10 advantage.
The Lady Mikes (2-5, 2-8) were led by Sophia Zalar’s 11 points.
Mapletown 46, Geibel Catholic 9 — Krista Wilson and Taylor Dusenberry both recorded a double-double as the Lady Maples trounced host Geibel Catholic in a Section 2-A meeting.
Wilson scored a game-high 12 points with 15 rebounds and Dusenberry had 10 points and 13 boards. Morgan Williamson just missed giving Mapletown (4-5, 5-5) three players with double-doubles as she had nine points and 15 rebounds.
Maia led the Lady Gators (0-8, 0-9) with four points.
Waynesburg Central 51, Fort Cherry 43 — Kaley Rohanna hit a pair of 3-pointers and was 9-of-10 from the foul line in tallying a game-high 19 points as the host Lady Raiders defeated Fort Cherry in a non-section game.
The game was tied, 19-19, at halftime but Waynesburg out-scored the Lady Rangers (10-7) 17-7 in the third quarter to take a 10-point lead and held on from there.
Clara Paige Miller added 11 points for the Lady Raiders (12-4).
Ava Menzies scored 13 points for Fort Cherry.
Chartiers-Houston 50, Monessen 33 — Dominique Mortimer scored a game-high 22 points and the Lady Bucs overcame a slow start to beat visiting Monessen in a non-section game.
The Lady Greyhounds (9-8) led 11-7 after the first quarter but Chartiers-Houston (8-6) went ahead 17-15 by halftime and extended its advantage to 33-22 after three.
Zamierah Edwards chipped in with 10 points for the Lady Bucs.
Mercedes Majors scored 15 points for Monessen.
Mount Pleasant 41, East Allegheny 37 — Tiffany Zelmore poured in a game-high 30 points to help the host Lady Vikings squeeze out a four-point victory over East Allegheny in a non-section game.
The game was tied, 20-20, at halftime. Mount Pleasant (9-6) led 30-29 after three quarters and used an 11-8 edge in the fourth to wrap up the win.
Abby Henderson and Casmere Marshall lead the Lady Wild Cats (6-6) with 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Neshannock 5, Elizabeth Forward 3 — The Lancers rallied with three unanswered goals in the second period for a PIHL Class B Division road victory over the Warriors.
Neshannock (9-2-0-2) strengthened its hold to the top spot in the North Division with 20 points.
The Warriors (6-7-0-0) remain in fourth place in the South Division with 12 points, trailing Connellsville by two points. Elizabeth Forward travels to Connellsville on Thursday.
Tayte Donovan spotted Elizabeth Forward the early lead with a power play goal at 3:01 of the first period.
Neshannock’s Davey Coughenour tied the game 14½ minutes later, but Ben Ruskay scored with just five seconds left in the first period for a Elizabeth Forward 2-1 lead.
Giovanni Valentine, Hunter Harris and Tino Multari scored in the second period for the Lancers.
Donovan cut the gap to 4-3 with a goal at 8:05 of the third period, but Multari scored an empty net goal with 45 seconds left to seal the win.
The Warriors’ Gabe Myers made 29 saves. Riley Mastowski turned aside 28 shots for Neshannock.
Connellsville 10, Burrell 1 — The Bucs’ Chantz Watkins scored the opening goal, then the visiting Falcons poured in 10 unanswered goals for a key PIHL Class B Division road victory.
Connellsville (7-4-0-2) tightened its hold on third place in the South Division with 16 points, four points ahead of Elizabeth Forward and two behind Carrick. Carrick has two games in hand, though.
Burrell slips to 1-9-0-0.
Max Sokol led the Connellsville offensive charge with four goals and an assist. Nate Lawrence scored a pair of goals, including a short-handed score in the third period.
Clay Sipple, Milan Deffibaugh and Parker Firestone all scored a goal apiece, and Milan Deffibaugh scored the lone power play goal late in the five-goal first period.
The Falcons’ Alex Mitchell made 18 saves in the win. Connellsville pelted 50 shots on Burrell goalie Zach Stewart.