With only three seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the game tied at 56-56, Dripping Springs needed a miracle play to happen for them to get the final shot in regulation and avoid going into overtime with the Northeast Early College Raiders last Friday night.
On this night that miracle play happened as Tigers junior guard Aidan Bailey hit a game-winning buzzer beater from beyond the arc to lift Dripping Springs over the Raiders 59-56.
“Lots of adrenaline like for real,” Bailey said after the game-winning shot. “I can’t believe Trace (Young) passed the ball to me because he is the best player on the team and he is supposed to take the last shot. But he made the unselfish play, a Tiger basketball play, and he passed it to me.”
On the final play the Raiders full court inbounds pass was intercepted by Tigers senior guard Trace Young, who then had the court awareness to find an open Bailey a few steps beyond the three-point line. Bailey’s quick release got the ball off in time, and his shot was perfect as he swished the three-pointer as time expired. The Tigers bench and student section then rushed the court and dog-piled Bailey.
“The ball kind of went right into my hands, and I looked up at the clock,” said Young. “Aidan, he is a sniper, one of the best shooters on the team, so I trust him all the time. So I dished it to him and he hit the shot.”
This is the fourth buzzer beater win this season for Dripping Springs, according to Tigers head coach Craig Swannack, and the late game experience helped with the phenomenal play on the final shot.
“These guys have probably played, I want to say off the top of my head, seven or eight different games that have been decided on the final possession,” Swannack said. “Because of that, we can really stay unusually calm in these situations and find the open man.”
Leading up to the final shot, the game went back-and-forth with multiple lead changes and was a highly intense matchup in front of an electric Dripping Springs crowd.
Northeast jumped out to a 18-14 lead in the first quarter on four made three-point shots, but Dripping Springs answered back in the second with 20 points of their own, taking a 34-31 lead into halftime.
The Tigers got up to a 49-42 lead with six minutes left in the fourth quarter before the Raiders started to chip away at their lead. Northeast ended up tying the game at 56 on a three-point shot with 30 seconds remaining. Then a failed inbounds play by Dripping Springs with eight seconds left ended up with a Northeast rebound and timeout, setting up the final play with three seconds left on the clock.
“It was a big game for us, we knew that we wanted this one at home,” said Swannack. “The guys just came out and played really well.”
Bailey finished the game with 12 points, all of which came on four made three-point shots. The Tigers had three other players score double digit points, as Young also contributed 11 points, six rebounds and six assists. Junior guard Jayden Guevara had 13 points and four rebounds, while senior guard Xavier Phillips had 12 points and seven rebounds.
For Northeast Early College, sophomore Jivenson Sylvestre led all scorers with 21 points, and junior guard Tristin Thomas chipped in 17 points of his own.
The win improves Dripping Springs overall recored to 14-4, and 4-1 in 5A District-25. At the midway point through their district schedule the Tigers are currently slotted in second place, just behind the 4-0 LBJ Austin.
After a home matchup versus Travis (2-3) on Tuesday, the Tigers will hit the road to face Crockett (1-4) on Friday at 8 p.m.