Isaac Matthews called it “the biggest rebound of my life.”
It was also the biggest bucket.
Matthews tipped in Quinton Hooker’s miss just before overtime’s buzzer to give Park Center a 74-72 victory over Lakeville North in the Class 4A boys’ basketball quarterfinals Wednesday at Target Center.
The 6-4 junior forward reserve waited patiently on the baseline while the Pirates’ senior leader prepared for a second game-winning attempt.
“When the ball goes up, I find it.” Matthews said. “I saw it come off the rim and I tipped it in.”
Lakeville North’s JP Macura grabbed his face after the winning shot fell from the net into his hands.
The junior nearly rallied his team from a 19-point deficit to upset the No. 2 seed. The All-Metro First Teamer scored 26 points and his NBA-range three-pointer with 1:37 left in overtime gave the Panthers (23-7) their first lead.
Matthews then factored into the game.
He made one of two free throws to tie the game and a minute later tapped in the winner. Both teams had a chance to win in regulation.
Hooker missed Park Center’s (27-3) attempt and Lakeville North’s Grant Erickson was called for a charge on the return.
“We kept chipping and got it down to the end of the game, but unfortunately they won,” Macura said. “I think we played how we wanted to.”
Not in the first half.
Park Center’s athleticism built an overwhelming lead that it thought would easily carry them into the semifinals. Treyton Daniels (16 points, 10 rebounds), Joshua Matthews, and Hooker (29 points, 10 rebounds) limited Macura’s impact early in the game.
Macura didn’t score his first field goal until 6:28 remained in the first half.
Park Center’s Devin Buckley also had a double-double (11 rebounds, 10 points).
Once Macura started scoring, though, so did his teammates. Connor Flack (17 points, eight rebounds) and Zach Creighton (12 points, seven rebounds) did most of the Panthers’ scoring in the final four minutes of regulation.
“Isaac was there to save me,” Hooker said. “We started to relax a little bit and [Macura] found his way to get open in the second half and knock down shots. When it came down to it in overtime, we buckled down and got some stops.”