ROCK FALLS – Jacoby Posely was supposed to be a decoy. Instead, he was the hero.
Posely drained a 25-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift unbeaten and third-ranked Winnebago to a 58-57 Big Northern West win over Rock Falls on Saturday night at Tabor Gym.
The Indians' winning play did not exactly go according to plan. Posely caught the inbounds pass in the backcourt, raced into the frontcourt, pulled up from some 25 feet out, and let the shot fly just before the horn. Splash. Nothing but net.
"I was supposed to be a decoy," said Posely, who scored a team-high 14 points. "We were supposed to throw it deep. I came back to the ball and did what I had to do. I had to take the shot. That was kind of like a prayer shot."
The prayer was answered.
"Right when I let it go, it felt amazing," Posely said. "I thought, 'This definitely has to go in.' "
Posely's game-winner came moments after Daegan Wharff sank two free throws with 3.4 seconds left to give the Rockets a 57-55 lead.
Winnebago (24-0, 10-0) only led for 56 seconds. Besides the final score, the only other time the Indians led was midway through the second quarter.
Rock Falls (17-6, 5-4) was terrific on its Senior Night, building a 10-point lead in the third quarter against a team that thumped the Rockets 79-56 on Dec. 18.
The Rockets were without an ill Steven Armoska in the first go-around. This time, he supplied a team-high 14 points despite being in foul trouble throughout and fouling out with 3:10 to play.
"Us seniors know what we're capable of, and we want to go out there and do it," Armoska said. "I think we're capable of beating everybody."
Alex Leaf had 13 points, nine coming in the second quarter, for Rock Falls. Austin Babcock and Austin Donoho added 10 points apiece, and Wharff finished with eight points and seven rebounds. The Rockets were without senior starter Connor Olson, who was sidelined with a concussion he suffered Tuesday against Princeton.
"We made a lot of big steps," Leaf said. "This was a huge improvement from the last time we played them. Now we know we can battle pretty much anybody."
"I'm proud of the performance, but it hurts," Rock Falls coach Brad Bickett said. "We have to use this loss as a springboard to show what we're capable of, because we did lift our game to a higher level."
Matt Reinke added 13 points and Dalton Menke nine for Winnebago.
Star of the game: Jacoby Posely, Winnebago, 14 points, game-winning 25-foot 3-pointer at buzzer
Key performers: Steven Armoska, Rock Falls, 14 points; Alex Leaf, Rock Falls, 13 points, 4 assists; Matt Reinke, Winnebago, 13 points
Up next: Rock Falls at Byron, 7:15 p.m. Tuesday