ELKHART — It was as if the basketball gods couldn’t decide for sure whether they wanted this epic upset to occur.
They had three overtimes to ponder, and yet, apparently, they were still pondering as Jordan Stookey’s running desperation shot from just outside the arc continued to feather-dust the rim and eventually take on magic-bullet-like behavior.
Ultimately, it went in as time expired, and with it the Warsaw Tigers knocked off No. 8-ranked Concord 41-39 in a Class 4A Elkhart Sectional triple-OT shocker Friday, March 2, at North Side Gym.
The Tigers (12-10) advanced to Saturday’s championship game against fellow surprise winner Northridge (10-11).
The Minutemen, 19-1 in the regular season, closed 0-1 in the postseason.
“That last shot, the ball was coming out of the rim, and then it went right back in,” openly tearful Concord coach Steve Austin said. “It started to turn left, then went right back in.”
“(Stookey) spun it off the flange,” Warsaw coach Doug Ogle said, referring to the small surface that attaches the rim to the backboard. “I mean, you cannot do that on a runner 3. ... It hit the flange and it spun and stopped and punched right back in. I’ve never seen anybody make a shot like that.”
Stookey himself almost didn’t see it.
“I didn’t really see the rim as I shot because Franko (House) jumped, but I knew it was somewhat in that direction, so it kind of had a chance at least,” said Stookey, who fell as he fired. “I was on the ground and I looked up and the ball dropped.”