WHEELING -With 17 seconds remaining and down one, Wheeling Park coach Micheal Jebbia called a timeout.
He didn't want his team's rally to fall short.
After Ryan Reinbeau drained a 3 and a personal foul on George Washington's Luke Eddy, Park was one score away from retaking its first lead since it was 9-7 in the early going of the first quarter.
Wheeling Park’s Trenton Smith shoots a layup.
Andrew Kowalo inbounded the ball, but Park couldn't get a good enough look as Eddy grabbed the rebound and hit both of his free throws to give the Patriots from Kanawha County a 45-42 victory on Thursday night in Wheeling.
''We wanted to try to run a play at 12 (seconds) and shoot with four or five (seconds left) to give us a chance for a tip in or enough time to foul,'' Jebbia explained. ''But the foul came with 1.1 (seconds remaining), which doesn't give you much of a chance after he hits the two free throws.
''We had an opportunity at the end and that's all we can ask for. I know we didn't get a shot off, but we had some missed opportunities throughout the game. The last minute doesn't dictate what happens. I know everybody remembers the last play or two, but we had some turnovers in the first half. George Washington grabbed some offensive rebounds and got points off of those. You start to think about those kind of plays that happened earlier in the game.''
After a back-and-forth first half that saw George Washington (18-4) go into the locker room with a five-point lead at 22-17, the visiting Patriots began the third with a 6-2 spurt that gave it its largest lead at 28-19.
Park (10-11), however, reeled off seven straight points to trim the deficit to two at 28-26, but Eddy then scored six of the game's next eight points and had his team ahead 36-30 before Trenton Smith drained a 3-point shot right at the buzzer.
''If he doesn't hit that, then with Eddy, they maybe go into ball control and we're just playing catchup,'' Jebbia pointed out.
Following an Eddy bucket to start the fourth, Park got a quick four points from back-to-back baskets by Luke Saseen and Kowalo, but Eddy answered right back with two more of his own.
Jebbia really began to loosen his neck tie after Eddy sunk two more free throws to make it a four-point game at 43-39 in the waning minutes of the fourth, but Reinbeau gave his team one last chance.
''That's the fourth-ranked team in the state and we took them into the fourth quarter with a chance to win down one,'' Jebbia said.
George Washington outrebounded Wheeling Park 35-23 and grabbed three more offensive rebounds (10) then the hosts (7).
Reinbeau led Park with 15 points and six boards, while Kowalo and Saseen both added four points.
Eddy, the MSAC Player of the Year, ended the night 8 of 16 for 26 points to go along with nine rebounds, four steal and two assists.
The senior entered the game averaging 27.1 ppg and recently signed with Division I Elon.