TOWAMENCIN >> He wasn’t the first option, nor the second.
“I was the third option on the shot,” Caleb Pfleiger will tell you with a smile. “Jackson (Scialanca) came across, he wasn’t open, and (Ralph Saint-Fleur) passed it to me.
“There were five seconds left, and I was like, I gotta do something. I stepped back, and was like it’s either an air ball or it’s going directly in. Thank God it went in.”
Pfleiger’s rainbow of a three-point shot sent the Dock fans into a frenzy and the game into overtime.
The Pioneers had drawn even, 48-48, with rival Lower Moreland.
“I thought that shot gave us a lot of energy,” Pfleiger said.
One buzzer-beating three deserves another.
With the seconds winding down in overtime, Saint-Fleur fired a pass over to an open Scialanca, and he buried it as time ran out to give Dock a thrilling 51-48 victory over the Lions in a battle of District 1 powers.
“It’s a good win going into the playoffs,” said Scialanca, whose squad will do battle in the Bicentennial Athletic League Tournament next week, followed by districts.
Dock (18-4) captured the Presidents Division this season, Lower Moreland (15-6) is at the top of the Independence Division.
“I knew it would be a dogfight,” Pioneers coach Mike Fergus said. “It was a matter of which team could summon up the energy after playing tough games (Tuesday) night. Right until the end, it was a scrappy, hard-fought game, that’s for sure.”
Dock now gets ready for the BAL Playoffs and Lower Moreland has just one regular-season game left — a trip to Devon Prep on Saturday.
After trailing by nine at the half, Lower Moreland worked its way back into the contest.
The Lions pulled to within six by the end of the third and controlled much of the fourth, directed by point guard Shane Cohen.
Cohen scored 13 of his game-high 15 points in the second half, scoring off penetration or setting up others to do so.
Cohen’s layup brought the Lions within 40-39 in the fourth. And then Bryce Horn, guarded well, fell to the floor as he watched his go-ahead, three-point shot fall through, lifting Lower Moreland into the lead for the first time all night at 42-40 with 1 minute, 50 seconds to play.
The two teams exchanged foul shots until Dock called timeout with 11 seconds remaining, down 44-41. Cue the clutch shot by Pfleiger.
Said Fergus: “He’s a senior, and that’s the kind of shot you want your seniors to remember their career by.”
Not done, Dock pushed into the extra period. The game was tied 48 all when Saint-Fleur went diving to the floor, securing a loose ball and — with a timeout called by Nolan Bolton — Dock had possession with a minute to go.
The Pioneers set up a pick-and-roll for Saint-Fleur.
“He’s as quick as a hiccup,” Fergus said of the sophomore. “He is so quick. And he can get in the lane against just about anybody, and he did. And he found Jackson. Jackson was open, and you can’t leave Jackson open.”
Scialanca’s three fell through clean and Dock had the game. Scialanca finished tied with Darius Ellis — an inside force throughout — for the team high with 13 points, with Miz Nyagwegwe adding 10. Pfleiger had seven points, including three big ones at the end of regulation.
Heroes kept emerging for Dock.
“We all know our jobs on the team,” Pfleiger said of a long but satisfying night at the office.
Both teams are expected to go deep into the playoffs: Dock is the No. 1 seed in District 1-2A, Lower Moreland currently the second seed in 4A.
On Wednesday night they refused to let the other off the hook.
“We did not start the game with our usual guts and glory,” Lions coach Seth Baron said of Wednesday’s battle. “We were tired and it showed.
“The kids got a second wind, brought their best basketball, and that second half was great. They came back, wouldn’t say die. Dock needed two buzzer beaters to beat us. And I’ll take that.”