BENNINGTON — When it comes to last-second game-winning shots, the Bears will always have a Chance.
Chance Haislip delivered the game-winner with six seconds left in a nail-biting 61-59 squeaker over Thackerville on Tuesday. Haislip scored seven of his 13 points in the fourth as the Wildcats rallied from nine down.
The Bears struggled early but Tad Holt set the tone with a 12-point outburst in the second quarter as Bennington outscored the Wildcats 18-6. But the Bears committed four early turnovers in the third, then the Wildcats scored on back-to-back steals and cut the Bears lead to 36-30.
Haislip started his heroics early in the fourth, spinning to the basket to regain a nine point lead for his Bears. Thackerville chipped away until a three with 1:30 left made it a five-point game.
The Bears burned 30 seconds of clock before the Wildcats stole the ball mid-court and raced down for a corner three to make the score 58-56. The drama continued as both teams whittle clock and traded free throws (and misses) with the result being a 59-59 tie with 18 seconds to go.
The Bears had the ball, and it wound up in Haislip’s hands as the clock ran under 10 seconds. He twisted along the baseline and nailed a short fall-away for the go-ahead basket.
Thackerville’s last chance was lost when they coughed up the ball at mid-court thanks to defensive pressure from Issac Perez.
Tad Holt led the Bears with 18 points and six rebounds; Haislip had four boards and three assists to go with his 13; Ryan Lott had 12 points, seven boards and three steals; Perez finished with eight points; Josh Hawkins scored six; Devin Dophied had four.
The Bears finish the regular season with an 18-7 record. They will host the district championship at 8 p.m. Saturday against either Victory Life Academy or Milburn.