STANWOOD – The player known to his teammates as “The Diesel” arrived at the station house right at crunch time.
Stanwood’s David Lipinski seized an offensive rebound in heavy traffic and dropped in a six-foot jump-shot as overtime expired to power the host Spartans to a 44-42 victory over the Kamiak Knights in a thriller of a Western Conference cross-division boy’s basketball game Wednesday night.
The heroics of the 6-foot-6 man-mountain Lipinski brought a sudden and stunning end to a hard-fought contest that featured six second-half lead changes and more emotional swings than a country song.
But, everyone knows you can’t have a good country song without a train, which is where Lipinski rumbled to the fore.
Stanwood point guard Tyler Monroe, who led all scorers with 20 points, missed a free throw-line jumper in the waning seconds of overtime and Lipinski came up with the rebound.
“I was just trying to get in position for a rebound and almost hoping more for a foul on the shot,” Lipinski said. “I thought someone got a hand on me and I thought ‘OK I’ll shoot two.’
”But it went in. That’s better than going to the line with no time and maybe missing two.”
“I just saw a bunch of guys fighting for the ball and David came out with it,” said Monroe who scored five points in the overtime and finished the game with six assists and four steals. “He took the shot and I knew it was going in.”
Stanwood coach Brian Hunter, who saw his team improve to 6-2 overall (5-0 North division) with its sixth straight victory needed time to gather his thoughts afterwards.
“David’s (Lipinski) not the prettiest basketball player by any means. He just battles and doesn’t quit and gets to the right spot.
“Nothing comes easy for us,” said Hunter whose Spartans have won five games by five points or less and suffered a double-overtime loss to Edmond-Woodway in their second game of the season. “It’s hard to explain. I just know we will always be in the game.
“Kamiak, we knew they’d be tough even though they are fighting injuries,” Hunter said. They are a little like us and they just don’t quit. That’s not exactly how we drew it up but, it’s kind of fitting for us.”
Kamiak coach Greg Turcott was gracious after a heart-breaking defeat that left his South Division Knights at 3-3 overall (3-0 in the south).
“They are very good and very well coached,” Turcott said of the Spartans.
“It was a great basketball game with a lot of hustle plays,” Turcott said. ”I’m so proud of the way our guys fought and battled.
“Kids are resilient. They’ll be down tonight, but they’ll get up, have a bowl of cereal, watch some cartoons and be ready to play.”
After the teams played to a 35-35 tie in regulation, Monroe slashed into the lane for a bucket on a classic give-and-go exchange with teammate Derek Anderson (16 points).
Moments later Kamiak’s Ben Iddins – who shined with 15 points, five assists and ball-hawking defense to match Monroe’s – answered with a 3-pointer from left of the circle to give the Knights a 38-37 lead with three minutes remaining in OT.
“Ben had a wonderful game and kept us in it,” Turcott said of Iddins. “I wish we could have won the game for him.”
Monroe countered Iddins’ 3-pointer 20 seconds later with a 3-pointer of his own.
With 1:05 remaining Kamiak’s Blake Englebert (six points off the bench) knotted the score with a bucket inside.
An alley-oop pass from Cameron Schmidt to the high-flying Anderson resulted in a thunderous slam dunk that put the Spartans up 42-40 with less than a minute left to play.
Kamiak’s Jerad Parcells (nine rebounds, seven points) knocked down two clutch free throws with 27.4 seconds showing on the clock to even the score at 42-42.
With Monroe on the point, Stanwood ran down the clock until Monroe went on the dribble drive from the top of the circle and pulled up for a foul line jumper, which he left short to set-up Lipinski’s heroics.
At Stanwood H.S.
Kamiak Iddins 15, Bullock 4, Swarthout 1, Englebert 6, Tarver 9, Parcells 7. Stanwood Monroe 20, Struiksma 2, Anderson 16 , Lipinski 6. 3-point goals Iddins 1, Tarver 3, Monroe 1. J.V. Result Stanwood 53, Kamiak 49.
Records Kamiak 3-0 in league, 3-3 overall. Stanwood 5-0, 6-2.