In the break between the third and fourth quarters Saturday night, Ben Drake implored his players not named Tommy Campion to step up.
''I said during the timeout that we need other guys making some plays,'' Drake said.
Here's guessing that the Jamestown basketball coach wasn't directing his comments at Stephen Carlson.
Above, United Way Tournament most valuable player Tommy Campion drives past Bishop Timon’s Layne Collins during Saturday night’s championship game. Below, Stephen Carlson is seen sinking one of his two free throws that clinched the win. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Scott Kindberg
After all, the 6-foot-3 sophomore had spent most of the championship game of the United Way Tournament on the bench due to ineffective play. But given a chance at redemption, Carlson came through in a big way, hitting two free throws with 3.8 seconds remaining to propel the Red Raiders to a thrilling 54-52 victory over Bishop Timon.
Campion poured in 22 points to earn Most Valuable Player honors, but Carlson's play in the waning moments will be remembered just as much.
''He was sitting there for a long time,'' Drake said, ''but when he went in there when (Quinn Lee Yaw) fouled out, he made a play.''
Carlson's heroics came with the score tied, 52-52. Campion, who was magnificent in helping Jamestown rally from a 10-point first-half deficit, missed a jumper and sophomore Branden Kellam couldn't get the putback to fall. But Carlson grabbed the miss and was fouled in the act of shooting.
''I knew I had to step up and make those free throws for the team,'' Carlson said. ''Everybody was counting on me.''
The first attempt rattled around the rim before falling through. After a Jamestown timeout, Carlson hit nothing but net on the second attempt.
''We know Steve's a good shooter,'' Campion said. ''I thought he was going to make those free throws.''
On the ensuing possession, Bishop Timon got the ball almost to halfcourt before calling a timeout with 2.1 seconds remaining. Ultimately, Layne Collins inbounded the ball to Bryant Fulton in front of his own bench. Fulton let fly with a potential game-winning 3-pointer.
''I thought it was right in,'' Tigers coach Joe Mihalics said.
Drake and Campion did, too.
But the ball bounced off the rim and the Red Raiders won for the sixth time in as many outings.
''We really needed a game like this,'' Drake said. ''This is a game played at a pretty high intensity level for 32 minutes. ... Win or lose, it was a great game for this team to be part of, but even better when you win.''
Early on, it didn't appear that Jamestown, the 10th-ranked Class AA team in the state, would keep its winning streak alive as Bishop Timon, behind the 3-point shooting of Manny Welch (21 points), led 14-4 midway through the first quarter.
But the Red Raiders kept their composure and took their first lead, 26-25, following a putback by Lee Yaw with 16 seconds before intermission. But Welch nailed his third three of the half at the buzzer to give the Tigers a two-point lead at the break.
That set the stage for a dramatic second half, one that featured plenty of lead changes and big plays, many of them by Campion, who is on the very short list of Western New York's best players.
''Campion is a heck of a player,'' Mihalics said. ''He made some tough shots. There's not too much more we could have done.''
Noted Campion: ''These are the kinds of moments you prepare for your whole offseason. These are the times you want the ball in the fourth quarter. You want to help your team win and that's what I try to do.''
And when Campion did misfire - he was 4-of-7 from the arc and 8-of 17 overall - his friends under the boards collected some huge rebounds, including Kellam's offensive board and lay-in that gave the Red Raiders a 52-50 lead with 43 seconds remaining.
''When (Campion) shot the ball, I was cutting backside and I was able to get the rebound,'' said Kellam, who finished with nine points and 10 boards. ''I just went back up and scored.''
Collins tied the game for the Tigers with 18 seconds remaining, only to have Carlson come up with the biggest play of the night and his game-winning free throws.
''Everybody was counting on me,'' he said, ''and I think I came through.''
NOTES: Demone Harris was the game's other double-figure scorer, finishing with 14 points for Bishop Timon. ... Named to the all-tournament team, besides Campion, were Kellam, Lee Yaw and Zack Panebianco of Jamestown, Welch and Harris of Bishop Timon, Fredonia's John Piper and Bennett's Aurelio Ayala. ... Although not the recepient of all-tournament honors, Jamestown junior guard Tre Frank had an impressive weekend, particularly on the defensive end. ... The Red Raiders junior varsity team also claimed a tournament title, routing Bishop Timon, 63-31. Derek Foe and Luis Castro each had 12 points for Jamestown (4-0).
Piper poured in 24 points, including 12 from the foul line, to lead the Hillbillies to a convincing, 62-43, victory in the consolation game.
Dylan Meyer added 17 points for Fredonia, which jumped out to a 21-9 lead after the first quarter.
Ayala had 14 points and Rich Balden added 11 for Bennett.
Moore 0 0 0, Ayala 6 0 14, Thompson 2 0 4, Bolden 3 0 6, Balden 3 6 12, Adams 0 1 1, Williams 1 0 2, Benjamin 1 0 2, Bowden 1 0 2, Totals 17 7 43.
Bunge 3 1 7, Fletcher 2 2 6, Lilly 2 0 4, Meyer 6 4 17, Piper 5 12 24, Ray 0 0 0, Thompson 2 0 4, Voss 0 0 0, Williams 0 0 0, Totals 20 19 62.
3-point goals-Ayala 2, Meyer 2, Piper.
Bennett9 11 10 13 - 43
Fredonia21 13 11 17 - 62
- - -
BISHOP TIMON (52)
Collins 3 0 7, Welch 6 4 21, Fulton 3 0 6, Harris 6 2 14, Murphy 1 2 4, Totals 19 8 52.
Campion 8 2 22, Frank 2 0 5, Colwell 1 0 2, Sisson 0 0 0, Panebianco 1 2 4, Carlson 0 2 2, Kellam 4 1 9, McBride 1 0 2, Lee Yaw 4 0 8, Totals 21 7 54.
3-point goals-Collins, Welch 5, Campion 4, Frank.
Bishop Timon18 10 13 11-52
Jamestown11 15 12 16 - 54