TRAVERSE CITY — Noah Bacchus is turning into a March Madness hero for East Jordan.
The senior guard hit a game-winning shot at the buzzer in the Class C regional championship game here Wednesday night, handing the Red Devils a 55-53 overtime win over Beaverton — the school’s first regional title since 1953.
The shot was one Bacchus said he had practiced on his own many times before.
“Every time practice is over, in the driveway I’m trying that shot,” he said.
But he hadn’t only practiced it at home in his driveway, or in his imagination. One week earlier Bacchus made the game-winning basket with seconds remaining in overtime of the Red Devils’ 48-46 district semifinal victory over rival Charlevoix.
The buzzer-beater capped off a dramatic clash. Beaverton (21-3) had a potential game-tying basket waved off on an offensive foul call with less than a minute left. And the Beavers’ Erik Maxwell hit a shot with seconds to go in regulation to tie it up at 50-50 and send the game into overtime. Key players for both teams also fouled out late.
Bacchus didn’t just take care of business at the end. He scored 18 points in the first half, and finished the night with 27 points. Sophomores Jordan Weber (14 points) and Donny Cutler (10 points) also helped lead East Jordan (19-4). Senior Jaden Hoffman pulled down five rebounds.
“(I’m) happy obviously for these kids, especially these seniors,” Red Devils coach Darrin Weber said. “They’ve come a long way. Some of them had to give up some time for the young kids. They’ve accepted their role. This is what team basketball is all about.”
Maxwell paced Beaverton with 18 points while Spencer Johnston added 12 points.
“We played pretty good,” Beavers coach Roy Johnston said. “I didn’t think we shot as good as we could have ... The kids played hard. Both sides went at it. It was just a great high school ball game.”
East Jordan moves on to face No. 3 Negaunee (23-1) in a state quarterfinal Tuesday in Petoskey.