DENTON, Texas -- Clutch free throw shooting is a staple in the Groselle household in Plano.
Two years ago, Michael Groselle, now a center at the Citadel, hit two free throws at the very end of a Plano West bi-district basketball game against Irving MacArthur to keep his team’s season alive.
Tuesday, Michael’s younger brother Geoffrey sunk a free throw with 0.2 seconds left on the clock to give the Wolves a 42-41 Class 5A bi-district victory over Southlake Carroll at the Super Pit on the campus of UNT.
After a clutch 3-pointer from Carroll's Ray Crockett tied the score at 41 with 28 seconds left, Plano West ran out almost all of the clock before Danny O’Leary threw up a 3-point try that missed off the right of the rim. Groselle grabbed the rebound and attempted a put back, which bounced out, but he was fouled in the process.
Groselle’s first free throw try rimmed out, leaving one last attempt for Plano West to win in regulation.
Carroll head coach Jon Youngblood waited until the very last second to do an impression of an NFL coach calling a timeout right before the ball was snapped, with hopes of icing the shooter.
“During the timeout, Kevin Chien, who I’ve played with for years, told me before the free throw, ‘Elbow in, arch and follow through,’ and it’s worked every time," Groselle said. "I knew I was going to make it from then on.”
Plano West head coach Anthony Morgan said Groselle hasn’t been his team's best free throw shooter throughout the season, and it showed in Tuesday’s game, as he had missed all four attempts from the line prior to the timeout.
“At that timeout he said, ‘Coach, I’m going to make this. I’ve got this one coach,’” Morgan said.
The free throw added one more point to his team-high 11 and extended his high school career by at least one more game.
“He knocked it down.,” Morgan said. “Unbelievable. That’s just ice right there.”
Despite the win, Morgan was concerned with his team's inability to put the game away sooner. Plano West lad the entire game but allowed Carroll to mount a late run.
“We’ve been in that situation all year," Morgan said. "All of our games have been close and come down to the wire. We played a little tense and we weren’t knocking down shots late. We weren’t into our game and we were playing not to lose as opposed to win.”
However, Groselle’s free throw gave the struggling team new life, and the Wolves will face Cedar Hill in the area round after the Longhorns beat Hurst L.D. Bell in a bi-district game, 65-51. Cedar Hill was No. 3 in the final regular-season ESPNDallas.com Class 5A area rankings.
“We’ve got to bounce back the next couple days and get ready for Cedar Hill and play a lot better the next game,” Morgan said.