Guard Dallas Murphy came off the bench and led the John Taylor Pipers to a 52-47 win over the Glenlawn Lions in high school boys basketball action at the 45th annual Wesmen Classic Tuesday night.
The Grade 11 student scored 15 points in the game, including the final bucket in a tense last minute of play to advance the Pipers to the semifinals of the annual holiday tournament at the University of Winnipeg's Duckworth Centre.
And what about that short six-foot jumper while falling off to the right side of the rim with time expiring on the shot clock?
Murphy said there was little doubt when the lane opened up.
"I've made that shot thousands of times before," he said. "I don't really get affected by the clock or the crowd, I just try to keep it in my head that it's just another basketball shot."
Murphy didn't start the game but his play Tuesday might give head coach Spiros Kavadas reason to insert him into the first five when the Pipers face the Garden City Fighting Gophers Thursday afternoon (4 p.m.). Kavadas saw his energetic guard was making a difference defensively in the tight game, and decided to ride the hot hand through most of the second half.
The move worked: Murphy scored 10 of his 15 points in the final quarter.
"We're fortunate that we have different guys who can step up at different times," Kavadas said. "There are a lot of guys I'm comfortable with at end-of-the-game situations."
Four of those players -- guards Luke Herr and Kuet Kuet, along with forwards Brett Jewell and Boris Zimbakov -- played for the provincial Under-17 team this past summer. With that strong base of talent, expectations are high for the Pipers to contend for the high school title later this season -- a situation that Kavadas figures will impact the entire John Taylor roster.
"There's a lot of pressure on those players to produce for us, but what their presence does is open up shot for some of our other guys," the coach said. "That's why we've tried to get it through to these guys that we need all of them to be successful."
Jewell also had 15 points for the Pipers, while forward Ben Graham -- who, like Murphy, came off the bench -- added 13 points. Glenlawn guard Daniel Ramlal led all scorers with 16 points.
Garden City beat Kildonan East 75-63 in the other Tuesday night game.
Earlier in the day, the Sturgeon Heights Huskies got by the Miles Macdonell Buckeyes by a score of 94-70. Guard Patrick Mart led all scorers with 20 points -- with only three of those coming in the second half as the Huskies went deep into the bench as they pulled away late in the third quarter.
Sturgeon Heights moves on to face Kelvin in the other semifinal today (4 p.m.). The Clippers exploded for 47 points in the second half against Maples and cruised to a 85-53 win over the Marauders Tuesday afternoon.