VEEDERSBURG, Ind. (WLFI) — Kaleb Del Real wasn't even on the Rossville basketball roster a season ago. The senior took a year off from basketball in 2019-20. He rejoined the team for his final high school season, and on Saturday night, he sent Rossville back to the regional.
Del Real's three point shot at the buzzer lifted the Hornets past a talented Carroll team 45-44.
"I missed two free throws, I should have hit them, we were down," said Del Real after the game."I just couldn't think of anything else, I gotta hit this shot, and thankfully it went in," said the senior.
Carroll tied the game at 42 with just over a minute to play in the fourth quarter. Del Real's missed free throws meant Rossville came away empty handed on the next possession, and the Cougars capitalized.
Carroll sophomore Jake Skinner gave the Cougars a two point lead after his runner off the glass went in. Six and a half seconds remained on the clock after Cory Dunn took a timeout for one last play call.
"Coach said attack the glass, we don't need a three, go to the rim and if we are open, shoot it," said Del Real. Junior Luke Meek drove the length of the floor and found a wide open Del Real in the corner, where he knocked in the game-winner.
"We ran it the way we wanted to, to an extent," said Dunn. "At some point, kids have got to make a play. Almost the exact same play last week we traveled on. He makes the pass tonight, we knock down the shot at the buzzer."
That shot, cemented a second straight sectional title for Rossville. Unlike last year when the tournament was canceled due to COVID, the Hornets will have an opportunity to win a regional title in 2021.
"It's crazy," said Dunn.
Rossville will take on twelfth ranked Rochester March 13 in the Lapel regional semi-final, at noon.
Carroll finished it's season ranked number eleven in Class 2A, and it's 21 wins are the most in school history. Bodie Bender's team won 18 straight games at one point this season.