PAXTON — Driving straight toward the basket, Tanner McLain looked like he would run into the padded wall before he attempted a last-second shot.
But the Rantoul junior guard gathered himself on the right block just before the buzzer and put up an off-balance layup attempt.
The shot fell through as time expired to give the Eagles a 58-56 overtime win against host Paxton-Buckley-Loda on Saturday night in nonconference play.
“I got the rebound and saw there were five seconds on the clock,” said McLain, who finished with 11 points. “I was pushing the ball as hard as I could. I could have dished it off, but I felt like I could get the layup in. It feels good to get another win.”
McLain’s heroics came after PBL junior Drew Schrodt (11 points, seven rebounds) missed a drive in the waning seconds, giving the Eagles just enough time to get a shot off before a possible second overtime arrived.
“We were so stagnant on offense the whole night, I didn’t want to call a timeout there,” Rantoul coach Brett Frerichs said. “I had two timeouts left, and I saw we had the potential for a two-on-one (fastbreak).
“Tanner took it aggressively, and he got up a good shot for us. He’s put a lot of work into our program the last three years, and offensively he’s struggled a bit lately, but he came up with big shots.”
PBL (7-5) led Rantoul (7-9) 41-35 with 1:30 left in the third quarter before the Eagles rallied to extend their winning streak to three games.
Junior guards Devine Thompson and Talon Hardin each hit four threes en route to 14 points and played a big part in the rally.
Thompson’s three from the left corner with 1:18 left in regulation tied the game at 48, and that score until overtime after PBL — which received a game-high 17 points from junior guard Jay Eshelman — couldn’t get a shot up in the closing seconds of regulation.
An inside bucket by Rantoul senior forward Greg Morrow tied the game at 56 with 52 seconds left and set up the thrilling finish.