The expression “on a wing and a prayer” comes from the title of a 1943 song by the American songwriter Harold Adamson. The expression “on a shot and prayer” could have been written a few days before the calander rolled in 2019 by the Saginaw High School boys’ varsity basketball team.
Tied in overtime in a defensive struggle with Skyline in the Motor City Roundball Classic at Ferndale HS, the Trojans tried to get the ball inside with the clock ticking down. Saginaw had the ball near half court with about 15 seconds left and tried to penetrate Skyline’s zone defense with about 5 seconds left and couldn’t find an opening.
So they tried the next best thing – kick it outside and try a desparation attempt from about eight feet beyond the three-point line. Despite the shot being contested, the Trojans converted the triple with no time left on the clock to knock off the Eagles 45-42.
While Saginaw played solid defense all night, the Eagles had trouble getting the offense off the ground in the second half – in part because the Trojans played a delay offense to take time off the clock and keep the ball out of Skyline’s hands. The Eagles scored just four points in the third quarter, five in the fourth quarter and were shutout in overtime. And this after scoring 18 points in the first quarter and 15 in the second quarter.
Skyline played a great first half against Saginaw with stingy half-court defense and solid offense to build a 33-22 halftime lead. Skyline then went cold from the field in the third quarter managing only four points and Saginaw continued to pressure full court and hit some big three pointers to tie the game at 37-37 going into the fourth quarter.
Saginaw then held the ball at half court for the first 5 minutes of the fourth quarter. Once play resumed with about 3 minutes left, Skyline was able to rebound a miss and convert on a Kabir Bergin triple.
Then Saginaw answered with a three-pointer to square the game. Skyline turned it over and Saginaw converted a field goal. Ryan Wade hit a driving two pointer with about 40 seconds left to tie it again. Saginaw missed a shot at the buzzer in regulation and the game went to overtime.
In overtime, Skyline again had a few opportunities to take a lead and continued to miss. The Trojans also missed – until the desperation three went through the net with no time on the clock. A “shot and a prayer.”
Skyline next plays at Pioneer on Friday, Jan. 11.