It’s easier that way.
The Norwalk junior had grabbed a miss in the closing seconds by Austin Brown in a 49-49 game at Perkins. The 6-foot-5 Lacy immediately went back up with it and just under a second left — and was fouled with no time on the clock.
In front of the Perkins student section trying to break his concentration, and with the entire gym on its feet — it all fell on Lacy’s broad shoulders.
“I wasn’t thinking much at all … other than ‘I’m making this free throw and I’m winning this game for my team,’” Lacy said.
That is just what Lacy did, easily making the first free throw — with no need for the second attempt in the stunning 50-49 SBC Lake Division victory on Thursday.
The Truckers (4-2, 2-1) had trailed by 10 (40-30) entering the fourth quarter.
“I had confidence I would make that shot,” added Lacy, who finished with seven points and five rebounds. “I just told myself to follow through on my shot and that’s it.
“We came back as a team, that’s what’s important,” he added. “We have to trust each other and work together — and that’s what we did tonight.”
The Pirates (3-4, 1-2) outscored Norwalk by a 14-4 margin in the third quarter to take the 10-point lead into the final eight minutes.
Lacy opened the final quarter with two free throws, and Will Gehlhausen set himself up for a big finish with two more free throws with 7:02 left.
Down 40-34, Brandon Haraway drilled his third 3-pointer of the game, and after a third straight Perkins turnover, Garrett Chapin scored inside off an asset from Haraway. That cut the deficit to 40-39 with 4:12 left still in the game.
Perkins snapped its scoring drought on a pair of free throws by Zach Voight, but then the sophomore Gehlhausen nailed a 3-pointer to tie the game at 42 with 3:32 left.
It was 45-43 in favor of the Pirates with 1:36 left when Gehlhausen again sank another deep 3-pointer with 1:24 remaining to give the Truckers a 46-45 lead — their first since the 6:07 mark of the second quarter.
But sophomore Sam Seigel quickly countered with his third three of the game just 15 seconds later — and after a Norwalk miss, Seigel was fouled with 50.8 seconds left. He split the pair for a 49-46 Perkins lead.
But again, Gehlhausen delivered. Unafraid to take a shot in his sixth varsity game, the soccer standout splashed in yet another 3-pointer with 39.6 seconds left to tie the game once again.
“I want the ball there. I have confidence in my shot every time,” Gehlhausen said. “I missed my first few shots, but they kept telling me from the bench to keep shooting with confidence — so that’s what I did.”
Perkins attempted to set up for the final shot, but were whistled for an illegal screen near the top of the key to give the ball back to the Truckers with 10.2 seconds left.
Out of timeouts, Haraway dribbled into the paint, and found Brown open in the left corner. Lacy then rebounded the miss and sent everyone home with the foul shot.
“Our defense won us this game in the fourth quarter,” Norwalk coach Steve Gray said. “Our practices are hard. We try to make it harder than games. And we’re just very, very fortunate tonight, because winning is not easy. It’s especially easy not winning here.
“We just hung around, and Will made a couple big shots,” he added. “He’s got a lot of confidence in himself. A year ago at this time, I thought he would be a two-year JV lettermen, but the kid can flat out play. And how about Kyler Lacy? It wasn’t his best night and yet he gets the last rebound and makes the biggest free throw of the night. We’re just very fortunate.”
Haraway finished with 14 points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds for the Truckers. Gehlhausen had 11 points and Chapin added seven points and three rebounds.
Last Friday, Gehlhausen hit the apparent game-tying three at the buzzer at Clyde — but his foot was on the line in a 61-60 loss.
With Thursday’s comeback, the Truckers avoided falling two games back in the loss column of either Clyde or Sandusky by coming out on the right side of a one-point league game.
“This was almost a championship game really,” Lacy said. “If we lost this game, it would have made things a lot harder on us moving forward.”
Gray, who also singled out the defense by Ryan Sowders and Brown, agreed with Lacy.
“I told them we almost gave alway a chance at a league championship tonight,” he said. “We have to learn to be more unselfish and take care of the little things … we have some growing to do yet.”
Norwalk also won the junior varsity game, 38-28. Justin Sommers scored 11 points, while Kyler Kromer and Andrew Mozina each added eight.
NORWALK (4-2, 2-1)
Ryan Sowders 2-0—4; Will Gehlhausen 3-2—11; Brandon Haraway 5-1—14; Austin Brown 3-0—6; Garrett Chapin 2-3—7; Garrett Obringer 1-0—3; Kyler Lacy 1-3—5. TOTALS 17-9—50.
PERKINS (3-4, 1-2)
Sam Seigel 7-1—18; Drew McVeigh 2-0—4; Spencer Klein 1-0—2; Isaac Grude 2-4—9; Joe Printy 3-1—7; Zach Voight 0-2—2; Michael Wade 1-5—7. TOTALS 16-13—49.
Norwalk 15 11 4 20 — 50
Perkins 13 13 14 9 — 49
3-point FGs: (N) Gehlhausen 3, Haraway 3, Obringer; (P) Seigel 3, Grude
JV: Norwalk, 38-28