Malushia sped up the court, and stopped at the elbow. With a hand in his face Malushi sank a turn-around jumper with two seconds left to lift Waubonsie Valley to a stunning 65-64 victory in the Windmill City Classic championship on Saturday.
It was Waubonsie's second straight Windmill title.
"When I looked up at the clock after [Cooper] made the layup, I saw 10 seconds," said Malushi, who had 12 points and two rebounds. "I knew there was no time for a pass or anything, so I took it on my own. I was lucky enough to make the shot with all the work." The outcome overshadowed a valiant Batavia rally.
The Bulldogs (3-1) came back from a 58-48 deficit with 6:37 left in the game. Batavia star senior forward Jayden Johnson hit a pair of free throws and Kyle Neibch made a three-pointer to close the deficit to five. Johnson then hit a three off the Warriors fifth turnover of the quarter before Warriors guard Isaiah Smith hit a pair of free throws to make it a four-point game at 60-56 Warriors lead.
Cooper hit a jumper and Johnson's layup tied the game at 60-60 with 1:37 left. Warriors forward Marcus Skeete made the layup and was fouled, but missed the free throw. Batavia guard Trent Tousana hit a layup to again tie the game at 62.
Malushi hit one of two free throws, setting the stage for the wild finish. The Warriors were led by Skeete's 27 points, a season-high for the 6-foot-5 senior. Justin Starks had eight points and two rebounds while Smith had 10 points.
"This group of guys, they fight," Skeete said. "Everybody on the team fights; we wanted this win. You saw the heart at that last shot Malushi made...we wanted this championship really [badly] and we fought for it."
Johnson, who had games of 21, 42 and 33 points earlier in the week, capped off his tournament MVP performance with 19 points and three rebounds. Johnson finished the Windmill Classic with 115 total points scored over four games, smashing the tournament record of 80 set by former Batavia star Corey Williams in 1990 over three games.
Johnson also holds the tournament accolade for most points in a single game (42), a mark that was previously held by Aurora Christian's Matt Chionis's 34 points in 2002. "This senior year, I've kind of just played off the philosophy of 'This is it,'" Johnson said. "'It's now or go home' so I just want to do whatever it takes, rally our guys, lead, and do whatever it takes to get the win."
Cooper and Neibch each finished with 14 points to pace Batavia. Tousana had eight points. Neibch made the all-tournament team.
Waubonsie Valley (4-0) took a 28-17 lead with 5:03 remaining in the half on a pair of free throws from Caleb Brackett. Cooper and Neibch each responded with a three-pointers to cut it to 28-23.
Cooper then hit a layup before Smith's dunk broke the scoreless drought for the Warriors. Luke Fehrenbacher hit 1-of-2 free throws before Johnson converted on a pair.
Batavia took the brief 31-30 lead on a deep three-pointer from Johnson before it was snatched back on a pair of free throws by Smith to take the 32-31 Warriors lead into the half. Waubonsie Valley's Caleb Brackett, left, and Ben Schwieger defend a drive by Batavia guard Jayden Johnson in the Ken Peddy Windmill City Classic Saturday Nov. 30 in Batavia. Batavia guard Trent Toucan scores on fast break against Waubonsie Valley in the Ken Peddy Windmill City Classic Saturday Nov. 30 in Batavia.
BATAVIA – Adri Malushi didn't have much time to think.
Malushi, Waubonsie Valley's junior guard, took the inbounds after Tyler Cooper gave Batavia a one-point lead with a layup with 10 seconds left.