CHAMPAIGN — When Reece Jacobson stepped to the free-throw line for a pair of attempts early in Friday night’s overtime period against Centennial, the Champaign Central boys’ basketball senior was looking to change a trend.
The Maroons were shooting 2 of 8 from the free-throw line when Jacobson got his chances, with the Big 12 Conference rivalry game tied at 45 inside a raucous and packed Combes Gymnasium.
“It’s just like practice — we work on those every day,” Jacobson said. “And all I’m thinking when I go up there is, ‘Knock it down.’ That’s what I’ve got to do.”
And that’s exactly what the 6-foot guard did, draining both of his attempts to open the free throw floodgates late for Central in a 52-49 triumph.
“He brings energy. He brings confidence,” Maroons coach Jeff Finke said of Jacobson. “He plays his butt off. He leaves it on the floor.”
Three of Jacobson’s teammates combined to make 5 of 7 free throws after him as Central (10-9, 3-3 Big 12) prevailed despite trailing by two points with less than 30 seconds to play.
A layup by Central junior Khailieo Terry changed that tune, and he finished with a game-high 14 points matched by teammate Pryce Punkay and both Termarion Howard and Amareon Parker of the Chargers (9-8, 0-4). Centennial led 8-6 after one period and 18-16 at the break, controlling the tempo.
Yet Jacobson ended the night updating the all-time “Champaign boys’ basketball” win board inside Combes to 1,741.
“Getting to hang that number, being a big part of this game, feels amazing,” he said. “I love it.”