When Floyd sophomore guard Devonte Dixon was fouled on an errant jump shot with 1.2 seconds left in a tie game Friday, the gym exploded as if he had just sunk the game-winning shot.
Maybe it was because the host Colonials had converted 11 of 13 free throws to that point. Maybe it was because Dixon had been in this position before. Or maybe it was because, as coach Rob Hodgson said, "We're the Cardiac Kids. I guess I'm used to it."
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With a loud contingent of visiting fans loudly trying to distract Dixon as he prepared to shoot, he swished the first one, virtually ensuring the victory. He missed the second one off the back rim and time ran out during the rebound scramble, allowing Floyd to outlast Bay Shore, 53-52, in a heart-pounding Suffolk AA first-round playoff game.
"I was very confident," said Dixon, who had made his previous five free throws. "I don't pay attention to the crowd. I'm not playing their game."
Did he miss the second free throw on purpose? "I won't say. It just slipped a little bit out of my hand," said a smiling Dixon, who finished with 17 points.
The Colonials advanced to play at No. 1 seed Northport on Tuesday.
Dixon's game-winning foul shot came after Bay Shore forged the 15th tie of the contest on a putback by Gerrell Irvin (14 points) with 16 seconds left. Hodgson elected not to use his final timeout and allowed his team to run the offense.
Devin Burney (25 points) found himself in traffic as he drove but was able to kick it out to Dixon on the wing.
"It was crazy out there at the end, but we're prepared for it. We play those kinds of games," Burney said of Floyd (14-5), which has played nine games decided by three or fewer points plus an overtime game.
"It was very intense," Dixon said. "We pushed the ball up, looking for a drive and kick. When I shot the jumper, I knew I'd get fouled because they love to jump. I got hit with the body."
Furious Jackson made the body contact for Bay Shore (12-7), which got 18 points from Jason Wright. The ball once again had found its way to Dixon, who had a game-winning three-point play against Brentwood on Jan. 29.
On that day, he got tackled by his teammates. On Friday, they hoisted him onto their shoulders and carried him into the locker room.
After all, one big lift deserves another.