Marion Loses a Heartbreaker, 40-39

Julius Mays

Marion thought they had the game won, but Brownsburg High hit a miracle shot at the buzzer to win the Indiana Class 4A state championship 40-39 at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Marion thought they had the game won, but Brownsburg High hit a miracle shot at the buzzer to win the Indiana Class 4A state championship 40-39 at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Marion led for much of the contest, but a late flurry by Brownsburg tied the game at 28 entering the fourth quarter before Brownsburg used a 7-1 spurt to take a 35-29 advantage with just over four minutes remaining.

After Lamar Jackson hit a layup for Marion, Julius Mays took over. The NC State signee converted a three-point play to bring the Giants within one point at 35-34. Brownsburg answered with a basket, and Mays came right back and hit another floater to bring the Giants back within one at 37-36. After getting a defensive stop, Mays appeared to give Marion a 38-37 lead with another floater in the lane with 1:05 remaining, but he banged into Brownsburg center Julian Mavunga on the play and was called for a charge, negating the basket.

The call gave Brownsburg back the ball with a lead, and Marion eventually fouled with just under 30 seconds left. J.D. Cosby hit one-of-two free throws, and Brownsburg held a 38-36 advantage. Mays patiently walked the ball up the floor, and then with eight seconds left he attacked the basket from the top of the key and drew two defenders, leaving junior Scott Wood open behind the 3-point line. At that point, Wood, a NC State commitment, had missed all seven of his field goal attempts, but this time he connected on a deep 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds remaining to give the Giants a 39-38 advantage and apparently the victory.

However, the game wasn't over. After both teams used a total of four timeouts, Brownsburg's Austin Fish inbounded three-quarter court. The Bulldogs threw a long pass under the basket to Mavunga, but the ball was batted down. Brownsburg's Gordon Hayward picked up the loose ball and hit a short layup at the buzzer, giving his team a 40-39 victory and the first boys basketball state title in school history.

Mays was outstanding for Marion. He hit big shot after big shot for his team and made countless plays down the stretch. He totaled a game-high 21 points and five rebounds in his final game for Marion. On the night, Mays hit 7-of-9 shots from the field, 7-of-9 from the free throw line, and his only missed shots were two 3-pointers. Wood, just a junior, hit 1-of-8 shots for three points. The 6-foot-6 wing struggled with his shot all night, but he did grabbed seven boards for the Giants.

Mavunga, who has signed with Miami (OH), led Brownsburg with 17 points. Hayward, a Butler signee, added 10, all in the second half as Mays did a good job of checking the 6-foot-8 guard on the defensive end.

Marion finished the season with a 24-5 record.

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