NAPPANEE — Franko House just wasn’t going to be denied. Even though he was, and even though he was again.
The Concord senior tipped in his own miss with 1.9 seconds left — his second rebound and third shot of the game-winning sequence — as the Minutemen wrapped up an outright Northern Lakes Conference boys basketball title with a 42-41 overtime comeback win over host NorthWood on Saturday night at The Pit.
“It definitely felt like the play took a long time, but I just kept jumping and jumping,” House said. “I want to get the rebound every time I miss, and finally it went in.”
And finally Concord (14-1, 6-0) has that undisputed league title, its first since 2005.
“It’s a really good accomplishment for us, one we really wanted,” House said.
The 6-foot-6 Ball State recruit showed how badly he wanted it, basically taking over for much of the fourth quarter and overtime after the sometimes sluggish Minutemen trailed 31-25 entering the final period of regulation.
He scored 13 of Concord’s 17 points over that closing quarter and the extra period, and 17 of their 23 for the second half on his way to finishing with a game-high 24 to go with a game-high nine rebounds and two blocks.
And the Minutemen’s other senior starter, DuWhan Alford, drained a 3-pointer from the left corner with 1:27 left in regulation to knot the count at 36-all and send the game to the extra session — Alford’s lone basket all night in five attempts.
“How many times has he done something like that?” Concord coach Steve Austin said of Alford. “Even though he’s struggled a lot at times this year, he’s a gamer. He’s just a winner. He’s one of those kids who steps up. He was determined, just like Franko on those shots. That’s seniors.”
The Minutemen bolted to a 6-0 advantage to start the game, but the Panthers (11-5, 3-3) grabbed the lead before the end of the opening quarter at 10-9.
NorthWood, which lost its fourth straight after starting the season 11-1, owned its biggest advantage at 29-21 midway through the third period, and was up 33-27 early in the fourth.
House, though, was ultimately too much of a load.
“I was trying to do it the whole game,” he said of dictating terms, “but NorthWood did a pretty good job the first half of just denying me and packing the lane. So then my coaches told me to start opening it up a little more.”
House netted all six of Concord’s OT points.
The Minutemen led 40-36 with 1:23 left in the extra period, but freshman Braxton Linville made a pair of free throws for the Panthers, junior Tanner Farmwald drew a charge against House with 1:06 left, and then Farmwald swished a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left for a 41-40 Panther lead.
That set the stage for House’s triple-try game-winner.
Then, after a timeout at 1.9 seconds, NorthWood tried to inbound long, but House forced a turnover on the desperation pass to effectively seal the game.
“We didn’t play well, and that’s not to deny credit to NorthWood, because I thought they played a heckuva game,” Austin said, “but I thought we took them lightly. We have to learn to play hard all the time. It’s a lesson we’ve needed to learn, and thank goodness we didn’t have to lose to hopefully learn it.”
Zach Zurcher led the Panthers with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists to go with two steals. Fellow junior Will Stueve added seven points, five boards, three steals and two blocks off the bench, while senior Tommy Klem scored 10 points.
Sophomore Filip Serwatka scored eight points, while junior Ramon Johnson tallied six to go with a team-high five assists and three steals for Concord.
Senior Dylan Wynne came off the bench to coax three charging fouls and make two steals for the winners.
NorthWood coach Aaron Wolfe was not immediately available after the late-starting contest that followed Sweetheart King and Queen festivities.
CONCORD 42, NORTHWOOD 41 (ot)
Concord — Franko House 9-15 6-7 24, DuWhan Alford 1-5 0-0 3, Filip Serwatka 3-7 1-2 8, Adam Glanders 0-3 1-2 1, Ramon Johnson 3-9 0-0 6, Dylan Wynne 0-0 0-0 0, Dakota Simon 0-0 0-0 0, Jacob Kronk 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-39 (.410) 8-11 (.727) 42.
NorthWood — Zach Zurcher 6-15 0-1 13, Tommy Klem 4-7 0-0 10, Jonathan Wilkinson 1-8 2-2 4, Tanner Farmwald 2-4 0-0 5, Braxton Linville 0-0 2-2 2, Will Stueve 2-2 3-4 7, Spencer Culp 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-36 (.417) 7-9 (.778) 41.
Scoring By Quarters
Concord 9 10 6 11 6 — 42
NorthWood 10 12 9 5 5 — 41
3-point goals: Concord (2-12) — Alford 1-3, Serwatka 1-4; NorthWood (4-8) — Klem 2-3, Zurcher 1-1, Farmwald 1-3.
Rebounds: Concord (21) — House 9, Glanders 4; NorthWood (23) — Zurcher 5, Stueve 5.
Assists: Concord (9) — Johnson 5, Glanders 3; NorthWood (14) — Zurcher 5, Wilkinson 4.
Steals: Concord (8) — Johnson 3, Serwatka 2, Wynne 2; NorthWood (6) — Stueve 3, Zurcher 2.
Turnovers: Concord 12, NorthWood 15.
Fouls: Concord 17, NorthWood 13. Fouled out — Johnson (1:13, OT).
Officials: John VanWagner, Tim Holmes, Tim Mills.
Records: Concord 14-1 (6-0 NLC), NorthWood 11-5 (3-3 NLC).
Next: Northridge at Concord, NorthWood vs. Memorial at North Side Gym, both Thursday.
JV: Concord 31, NorthWood 26. Top scorers: Concord — Brett Austin 11, Trevor Wilmore 9, Ryan Tepe 7; NorthWood — David Eshelman 8, Travis Bear 5. JV records: Concord 12-3, NorthWood 13-3.