Less than one second was the difference between the Sunbury Jets scoring their best win of their season or suffering an agonisingly heartbreaking loss.
The Jets took it up to Big V division 1 ladder leaders Keilor and the match always looked like it would go down to the final minutes.
When Javari Williams scored his 11th basket of the game with 5.6 seconds to go, the Jets hoped it would be enough. They defended well for 5.2 of those seconds before a foul sent the Thunder’s Matthew Spencer to the line with 0.4 seconds remaining.
He calmly slotted both shots to give the Thunder back the lead. The Jets couldn’t get a shot off in time and lost 78-77.
While immensely proud of his side’s performance, Jets’ coach Lanard Copeland was still devastated.
“We’re not making any excuses, we made a lot of mistakes and we had two guys with nine plus turnovers,” he said.
“We got a technical foul with 18 seconds left and we missed 15 free throws, but we still had a chance to win.
“They gave it their all and I’m not mad, but I’m still disappointed.”
Williams was the standout for the Jets with 29 points and 12 rebounds. When the deficit got out to 10 points in the third quarter, it was Williams who got the Jets back into the game.
Copeland said the game wasn’t one he was expecting. He said after a poor week at training, including the worst training session of the year, he was nervous how they would play.
They only had eight players suit up, with only seven taking to the court.
Now Copeland wants the intensity he saw on the court at the weekend to be the standard for the rest of the season.
“The most important thing for me is of course I wanted to win, but we are getting better.
“The last time we played this team I think we were 30 points down at half-time. If you can play against this team, which is in top position, you should be able to play every game as hard as this.”
The Jets are fifth in their pool after 13 matches and are only two games behind second-placed Warrnambool Seahawks. After playing better the past few weeks, Copeland expects them to continue on the up for the rest of the season.
The Jets should get one player back next week, but will lose Jacob Formosa who is playing in a tournament in Malta.
The Jets’ women’s side lost its second successive game, losing to Ringwood Hawks 71-61. Without Courtney Duever, the Jets lost the first three quarters and despite winning the last quarter couldn’t reduce the margin enough.
Orla O’Reilly top-scored for the Jets with 25 points. Josie Stockill was the only other Jets player to score double figures.