With just 37 ticks left on the clock in a game that saw 25 lead changes, Polesuk sank a jumper from the foul line to tally the games’ final points, leading the Rams to a 52-51 victory over Mountain Lakes.
“Seeing that shot go through the net was one of the greatest feelings I've ever had on a basketball court,” said Polesuk. “I'm constantly working on my mid-range game, and it's awesome to see the hard work pay off, especially in such a big spot in the game. That shot is definitely one that I will remember fora long time.”
For the second seeded Rams, facing the seventh seeded Lakers, there was a point in the third where it appeared they might not be in position for Polesuk to work his magic. After a closely played, back and forth first half with the teams trading one point leads, the Lakers pulled ahead mid way through the third to take a 40-34 lead.
But Polesuk was there to rally the Rams, netting 14 of his season high 20 points in the second half.
“My teammates and coaches constantly giving me confidence is what really got me going in the second half,” said Polesuk. “All season long they've been on me to have confidence to go score. We were able to get a lot of pick and roll going in the second half and I was able to take advantage of space that opened up in the paint and go make some plays.”
With the clock winding down, the Rams executed one more perfect play for Polesuk, who pulled up at the free throw line and sank the go ahead points.
Randolph’s trademark defense clamped down on the other end, keeping the Lakers off the board in the final moments, sealing the Rams victory.
“After the game, Coach Tighe told us he was happy we won, as that was the goal, but we still have much to work on,” said center and captain Luke Nathan. “That was not our best game and we knew we should have not kept it that close.”
Nathan was a significant part of the win, as the 6-10 big man patrolled the paint on defense and poured in 17 points on offense. The Rams now face Chatham, the team that derailed their dream of a title last season when they upended the Rams in the finals.
“Our whole team is excited to see Chatham again,” said Nathan. “We beat them in our matchup during the regular season but we really want to beat them again, especially at CCM where we lost to them in the finals last year.”
Randolph plays Chatham at CCM on Saturday, Feb. 18