CARENCRO — With Northside trailing Carencro 46-45 with 8.3 seconds remaining in the game, the Vikings’ Darius Randell got the ball in the corner, wide open for a potential game-winning 3-pointer.
Randell struggled throughout missing wide-open shots, but he said he wasn’t thinking about those shots when he squared up for what he admitted was the “biggest shot” he had ever taken.
“I struggled through the stretch and the start of the game and I just said, ‘Forget about all those other shots,’ ” Randell said. “Just step up and hit this one.”
Northside coach Ross Rix said he thought his team settled for too many jump shots but also said he can’t really ask his players to pass up open shots. Randell didn’t pass up his open 3-pointer with 8.3 left, as he drained it to give the Vikings a 48-46 win.
“I’m glad he had enough confidence in himself to pull the trigger right there,” Rix said.
Randell finished with 11 points and said it was a blessing that his teammates still trusted him despite his struggles.
“I thank my teammates to put the trust in me to take that last shot,” he said. “They still had that mindset to say, ‘We’re going to Darius.’ That is the biggest shot I’ve ever taken in my life.”
Before the game-winning shot, Carencro, up one, had a chance to go up three points when out of a timeout, they executed a play to perfection and set up a wide-open layup. The entry pass went into Craig St. Julien, but St. Julien fumbled the ball out of bounds to Northside.
“We had it,” Carencro coach Chris Kovatch said. “(The) first set up didn’t work, so we called the timeout and went to the next one on paper. Just a physical error on a wide-open layup. We’d do the same thing tomorrow if we had to. It’s just one of those freakish things.
“We aren’t quite sure what God’s plan is for us, but it must be pretty good. Our kids are playing great and playing with effort. We didn’t play as many kids as we normally do, but we felt like the kids that were in gave us the best matchup against their guys. We’ll be tougher as a result of it.”
Northside got a major contribution from Jonte Morrison, who had a game-high 18 points. Rix said the Vikings don’t normally have a size advantage, but Morrison was a little bigger than the Carencro lineup and they decided to exploit it.
“(Morrison) was big tonight,” Rix said. “We counted on him, tonight and he came through. We kept going to him and kept feeding him and he did an excellent job.”
The crowd during the game was electric, about a 50/50 split for each fan base. Rix said the Northside fans were huge for his players.
“Northside has a tradition for winning and our fan base has done a great job supporting,” Rix said. “This game speaks multitudes for this team about how much they’ve grown. We have great leadership, and I am so proud of how these guys keep fighting and grinding.”