LADUE — MICDS senior forward Jessica Brooks said MICDS' 42-41 win was full of added bonuses, all of which she will happily take.
Brooks' step-back 3-pointer that splashed through the hoop at the buzzer not only won the Rams a Metro League game, it also garnered the team a third-place finish in the delayed finish of the Lutheran St. Charles Tournament — a game that was delayed due to the Lutheran North football team playing in the Class 2 state championship game Dec. 6.
Perhaps the biggest bonus for Brooks, however, was the joy the buzzer-beater brought all the Rams players, coaches and fans.
“It definitely feels special, all my teammates hugging me, my coaches excited for me,” Brooks said. “Seeing the crowd erupt with cheers, it's really, really special.”
MICDS coach Scott Small said the game-winner was something of a happy accident.
An in-bounds pass from under the Lutheran North basket meant to catch Brooks in stride for a potential game-tying lay-up was a bit high. Brooks had to stop her stride to catch the ball, she then retreated behind the 3-point arc and splashed the off-balance triple.
“This was a great effort, a defensive effort by both teams all night,” Small said. “It didn't end the way we drew it up but it ended well. Jess can knock down the three. She threw it up from outside the arc and it was a big way for us to come out with the win.”
While Brooks had the final say in the win, several other Rams played key roles in what turned out to be a come-from-behind victory.
With MICDS trailing by five in the final minute, Rams sophomore guard Alden Small knocked down a 3-pointer to set up Brooks' theatrics.
“We had a big game, big contributions all around,” Small said. “No. 22 (Alden Small) hit that big three. We had a lot of girls step up.”
While MICDS (6-3 overall, 1-0 Metro League) stepped up in the end, Lutheran North (3-6, 0-2) made a game of it after falling behind early.
Freshman guard Kayla Sullivan scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half as the Crusaders overcame a double-digit, first half deficit to take the lead in the second half with just less than three minutes left in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by senior guard MaKayla Williams that made the score 26-25.
Williams' basket gave North its first lead of the game.
“The girls did a good job of adjusting tonight, we had to change our game plan a bit,” North coach Chris Forrest said. “They adjusted into our zone and they closed the gap. This game goes all the way down to the wire, but there was a lot more that happened before that finish.”
After Sullivan, North got seven points from junior guard Cynaa Coleman in the defeat.
While Brooks stepped up in the end to finish with a flourish and 14 points, freshman post player Binta Fall kick-started the Rams' offense in the early going.
She scored eight of her 14 points in the first half as the Rams built the lead.
“It's exciting for me, it's my first year in high school and I feel I am adapting well,” Fall said. “The great thing is that my team has always been there for me. Jess is such a great teammate who has always been there for me. We do work well together. It has been great to work with her.”
The win not only earned MICDS third place in the Lutheran St. Charles Tournament and a conference win, it also marked the first time in four games that the Rams got the better of Lutheran North.
Even though MICDS is 30-8 against its conference foe since the 1999-2000 season, the Rams defeated the Crusaders for the first time since a 66-63 win Jan. 6, 2017.
“They are a really great team,” said Brooks of North. “We really worked well together and played hard as a team to win a big game tonight. This is really special.”