The PCM boys withstood a furious West Marshall charge in the second half to hold on for a 48-47 win Saturday night and defeat the Trojans in the Class 2A Substate Finals for the second straight season. Playing without injured star forward Scott Bruxvoort, the Mustangs assembled a key 17-6 run in the third quarter that gave them a 13-point lead entering the final period, and victory appeared to be an easy task at that point…too easy in fact.
West Marshall cranked up the defensive intensity with a full-court press and limited the Mustangs’ offensive opportunities while finding easy looks at the basket on their own end. The back-breaker came in the form of a four-point possession, as the Trojans’ Duncan Ferch was fouled on a made three-point basket and sank the ensuing free throw to pull West Marshall within two points. A possession later, the game was tied at 44-44 as the final moments of the game closed in.
The two teams traded baskets before Jordan Van Roekel’s 14-foot jumper put the Mustangs up for good. PCM forced the Trojans into a tough basket at the other end, and Van Roekel pulled down the rebound with 3.3 seconds remaining. A quick foul sent him to the line, and while he missed the front end, there simply wasn’t enough time for West Marshall to get a good look, and a last-gasp half-court heave by Duncan Ferch fell short, giving the Mustangs a thrilling win over the previously unbeaten Trojans.
Van Roekel put up a performance to remember, carrying the team at times and finishing with 24 points and 8 rebounds. Sean O’Conner added 11 big points on the night as well, to give PCM its 18th consecutive victory and send the Mustangs back to the State Tournament. PCM is now 22-2 overall, while West Marshall finishes at 23-1.