Ten seconds and one victory to remember.
One minute and one near loss to forget.
Such was the roller coaster ride that made up the second half of the Alton Comets' thrilling 72-67 victory over the Ellington Whippets Feb. 20 at Alton.
First the 10 seconds. Ten sweet, game-changing seconds for the Comets, 10 disastrous seconds for the Whippets.
Alton held a slim 27-26 lead at the half, and the first part of the third period saw two ties and two lead changes, as both squads battled for position down the home stretch in what figured to be a tight finish.
The Comets had just broken a 33-all tie on a putback by Jon Barton (six points), when the wheels fell off the Whippets' bandwagon, starting at the 3:55 mark of the third.
Seth Roberts grabbed an offensive board and stuck it back to give the Comets a 37-33 lead. Roberts paced the Comets with 19 points on the night.
Ellington was called for a technical foul on the ensuing inbounds play, giving Alton two free throws and possession of the basketball.
Ben Whitten (13 points) drained both free throws and then Logan Simpson (18 points) sank a layup on the Comets' next possession to push Alton on top 41-33.
Things continued to get worse for Ellington, as the Whippets threw the ball away and Roberts turned that miscue into two points on a jumper at the 3:45 mark, giving Alton a 10-point lead, all in the span of 10 seconds, all without the ball leaving the Comets' side of the court.
Alton ended the third period on a 5-0 run, getting hoops from Barton and Lane Brewer (10 points), along with a charity toss from Simpson to move on top 48-36 after three.
Now the minute to forget. A minute that nearly saw all Alton's hard work in the third period go straight out the window as the Whippets came roaring back late in the game.
The Comets held an 11-point lead, 65-54, with a touch over a minute left in the game when Ellington got busy.
First, Gordon Seigrist knocked down a trey for the Whippets, the first of Ellington's trio of 3-pointers in the game's last minute of action.
Jacob Alexander (six points) racked up a pair of free throws for Alton, but Ellington responded with a 3-pointer from Brad Baysinger at the 56-second mark.
Next, Matt Smith got free for a layup that pulled the Whippets within five, 67-62, with 45 ticks left.
While Alton struggled a bit from the free throw line, going three-for-six inside the last 44 seconds, Ellington continued to press the issue.
James Fox hit Ellington's third trey in the late going, which coupled with another layup from Smith, pulled the Whippets within two, 69-67.
Alexander upped Alton's lead to three, 70-67, with a free throw with 13 seconds remaining on the clock.
Needing one more trey to knot the game, Ellington found its long-distance well finally run dry as Seigrist missed a 3-pointer for the Whippets with six ticks left to play.
Simpson sealed the deal for the Comets by grabbing the rebound of Seigrist's missed shot and walking to the other end of the court to hit two huge free throws that left Alton on top 72-67 as the final horn sounded.
Ellington's streaky 3-point shooting actually started in the first period, as the Whippets missed their first three trey attempts before hitting one at the 5:43 point of the first for Ellington's first bucket of the night.
Alton opened the game on a 5-0 burst on hoops from Simpson and Roberts, along with a free throw by Alexander.
The Comets held a 17-14 lead after the first period and maintained the advantage for most of the second period.
The Whippets did move on top briefly in the second, 26-25, on a trey from Derek Brewer with 49 seconds left until the half.
Roberts made sure the Comets took the lead at intermission on a baseline jumper that reestablished Alton's control, up 27-26 at the break.
And though Ellington refused to let Alton runaway with a victory in the second half, the Comets still managed to dig deep enough to repel the Whippets by five points.