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Brother Rice’s Marquise Kennedy (24) gets mobbed by teammates after draining a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer against T.F. South in a Class 4A Brother Rice Regional semifinal on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. (John Smierciak / Daily Southtown)
With 11.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter Wednesday night, Brother Rice senior Marquise Kennedy took the inbounds pass near the top of the key.
The game was tied 58-58. Kennedy, a Loyola recruit, was not sure if he was going to drive to the basket or launch a 3-pointer.
All he knew for certain? He had to remain patient, per coach Bobby Frasor’s instructions.
“Coach told me to wait until there were five seconds on the clock before making my move,” Kennedy said. “I’ve taken some bad shots too soon this season with like 10 seconds left. I took my time (Wednesday).”
Kennedy used a crossover dribble to create some space before unleashing a 3-pointer that hit nothing but net at the buzzer to lift the host Crusaders to a 61-58 win over T.F. South in a Class 4A Brother Rice Regional semifinal.
The Crusaders (22-8) will play at 7 p.m. Friday against Simeon (17-14) for the regional championship.
“The shot didn’t feel good leaving my hand,” Kennedy said. “I’m so happy it went in.”
So was Brother Rice’s student section as the Crusader Crazies ran onto the floor to celebrate with Kennedy and his teammates.
“This is one of the best feelings ever,” Kennedy said. “To have the fans rush the court was amazing.”
The 6-foot-1 guard finished with 32 points. He shot 8-for-13 from the floor and 14-for-18 from the free-throw line.
Senior guard Jimmy Gavin added nine points for Brother Rice.
Senior guard Andrew Stewart led T.F. South (19-13) with 19 points, while senior guard Dekwan Turner and junior forward Elijah Watson each added 10.
Kennedy scored 15 of the Brother Rice’s 22 points in the fourth quarter.
“Coach says big-time players make big-time shots,” Kennedy said. “I had to show I’m a big-time player.”
Kennedy has been big-time all season for the Crusaders. So much, in fact, that Frasor is running out of ways to describe his star player’s heroics.
“He’s a phenomenal, phenomenal talent,” Frasor said. “He’s done it all year. We’ll go as long as we can with him doing it.”
Kennedy did get some help. It came namely from Gavin, who hit a 3-pointer that forced a 47-47 tie and then another 3-pointer with 3:52 left in the fourth that gave the Crusaders a 53-49 lead.
Gavin was 1-for-7 before knocking down those two clutch shots.
“When I struggle like that, I usually get down,” he said. “(Assistant) coach (Vince) Greene tells me to keep my head up. I stayed confident and shot the ball.”
T.F. South coach Townsend Orr was impressed by Kennedy.
“He’s a bulldog,” Orr said. “He knows how to get to the rim. He didn’t hit a jumper all game and then hits the game-winner. It was a great game.”