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01/31/2014 - BOYS BASKETBALL: Utrup's Buzzer-Beating Layup Lifts Pius X Over Northeast

By Jeff Motz

Brandon Utrup scored the biggest layup, perhaps, of his career Friday night.

The Lincoln Pius X guard raced down the full length of the court with six seconds remaining and scored a layup as the buzzer sounded to give the Thunderbolts a 58-57 win over Lincoln Northeast in a boys basketball game at the Ed Johnson Gym.  The win drew the Pius X student section into a big celebration on the court.

After a time out, Pius X (9-5) got the ball with six seconds left in the game, after Payton Helmstadter scored on a eight-foot jump shot to put Northeast ahead 57-56.  Utrup, who led the Thunderbolts with 15 points, got the ball off the inbound pass and drove past Rocket defenders coast to coast, drew contact under the basket and scored off a bank shot that rolled through as the buzzer sounded.

Leading up to the big finish, Pius X got a three-pointer from Utrup with 7:00 left to tie the game at 42.  Helmstadter scored off a pass from Connor Springman, then Derrick Curtis scored off a putback for a 46-42 Northeast lead.

Pius X pulled to within one on a Chad Quigley three pointer and added a pair of free throws for a 47-46 advantage.  Dalton Hegeholz' layup put Northeast back in front briefly before Gus Mattern helped the Thunderbolts regain the lead with 4:00 left on a baby hook shot.  A few minutes later, Helmstadter hit a baseline jumper to for a 51-49 Northeast lead.

Curtis hit a three pointer to regain a 55-54 Rocket lead with 1:05 remaining.  Quigley hit a basket with 34 seconds left, putting the Bolts back up 56-55. 

The fourth quarter drama followed a back and forth third quarter which saw several lead changes.  Pius X held a 29-26 lead when Helmstadter responded with a three for Northeast. But Marcus Sanders hit a three-pointer to give the lead back to the Thunderbolts.  On the next Rocket possesion, Derrick Curtis hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 32 with 3:57 remaining in the third. 

Later in the quarter, Northeast extended their lead to 38-34 on a Hegeholz break-away layup with under a minute remaining.  Then Utrup hit a three to pull Pius X back to within one and Northeast got a three-pointer just before the buzzer from Helmstadter for a 41-37 Rocket lead.

Good ball movement and open shots helped Pius X sprint out to an 18-7 first quarter lead.  But Northeast (6-10) used a 12-0 run to keep Pius X scoreless through the first 6:30 of the second quarter before the Thunderbolts scored four straight points to hold on for a 21-19 halftime lead.

Pius X got offensive help from Sanders and Noah Appleget with 11 points apiece, while Quigley finished with 10 points.  Helmstadter and Curtis led Northeast with 16 points apiece, while Springman added 10 in the loss.
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