Every little boy and girl who aspires to be the next great hardwood talent roaming the floor of their school has those dreamy moments in the gym, on the driveway or out in the barn where they play the hero. Every kid can recite the scenario, the seconds running down as they dribble the ball around the top of the key. Five … four … three … two … one, the shot gets launched. Sometimes it goes in; sometimes it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, the countdown starts over until that game-winner finally falls. The crowd erupts into cheers of adulation, and the teammates mob them as they soak in the moment they made the game-winning shot.
While it is every kids’ dream, few get to experience it in real life. Ethan Kinsey is one of the lucky ones who did.
After getting off to a hot start to begin the season, the West Holmes Knights boys basketball team has fallen on hard times, struggling to find wins despite playing some very good basketball at times. All that has gotten the Knights in the current nine-game losing streak was close but not quite. That was until Saturday, Jan. 27 when the Knights traveled to Ashland to face an Arrows team that also is struggling for wins but had recently knocked off Ohio Cardinal Conference league leader Mansfield Senior 65-55.
Kinsey made sure the Knights got back on track with his last-second buzzer-beater.
After a nip and tuck battle throughout the first half, West Holmes got rolling in the second half, led by senior Bryce Myers. The deep-ball gunslinger hit three 3-pointers, and a score from Shane Jones inside allowed West Holmes to push out to a 10-point lead. However, any joy was short-lived as Ashland’s Garrett Denbow caught fire, answering Myers’ precision from downtown with three of his own, and suddenly it was game on again.
The fourth period was a series of the two teams trading shots back and forth as Denbow, Klejhan Randlemar and Mitchell Heilman kept the Knights from going anywhere despite the effort of Chance Wells, who stepped up his game and started to deliver on the same long-ball accuracy Myers showcased one quarter earlier.
As the two teams came down to the wire, the Knights needed a dream sequence to come true and got one when Kinsey delivered.
As the fourth-quarter clock wound down with the West Holmes Knights trailing by a single point to Ashland at Ashland High School, Kinsey found himself on the spot almost by default. West Holmes had drawn up a play that was supposed to run through Jones in the paint. According to Troyer, the ball was supposed to go into the middle, and Jones was supposed to tip it out to a teammate.
“Bryce Myers made a perfect pass into Shane, and when Shane went up, he kind of got pushed from behind, and the ball went through his hands,” Troyer said.
Instead, the Arrows made a play on the ball, and it glanced off of Jones’ hands, right to Kinsey, who found himself under the bucket with the ball as time ticked away. He quickly got off a shot that nestled into the bottom of the net, giving West Holmes a 64-63 road victory over Ashland.
“I thought we played well the entire game,” West Holmes coach Keith Troyer said. “Ashland’s record is very deceiving. They have been in about every game, and Denbow is a really nice player. I was proud of how our kids kept their composure after leading and then falling behind. They found a way to win, and they never quit.”
Ashland was led by Denbow’s game-high 21 points while Randlemar and Heilman both scored a dozen points. Kamrin Goings scored nine, and Manny Langston scored seven points while adding six rebounds.
The Knights were paced in scoring by Myers and Chance Wells, who scored 17 and 16 points, respectively. Jones added nine points, and Chase Wells scored nine points and added six assists. Kinsey scored seven, and Jacob Goudy tacked on four points. Kinsey also hauled in six boards to pace the Knights in the rebounding department.