Flagler Palm Coast junior guard Karl Knighten knew this was a game his team needed to win.
With less than 30 seconds remaining, Knighten converted both ends of a one-and-one to give the Bulldogs a 45-41 boys basketball victory against Father Lopez on Jan. 10 at FPC.
The Bulldogs snapped a three-game losing streak to improve to 6-10 on the season.
"I think this game is the turning point for us," said Knighten, who matched Father Lopez's Isaiah Eberheart with a game-high 15 points. "It will build our confidence back up. We were starting to get down on ourselves a bit."
Father Lopez (3-9) is in need of its own confidence builder. The Green Wave have been missing players all season due to injuries and COVID-related issues.
"We have not had our five starters dress out all season. ... Our guys are dying in the fourth quarter, because we haven't been able to practice."
BRAD RIDENOUR, Father Lopez coach
"We have not had our five starters dress out all season," said coach Brad Ridenour. "We canceled two games last week because five guys were out (due to) contract tracing. We had one practice last week. Our guys are dying in the fourth quarter, because we haven't been able to practice. Last year was nothing like this."
After starting the season with three wins, Lopez has lost nine in a row. Three of the losses have been by four points or less, including a 43-42 loss to Atlantic last month when the Green Wave were down to five varsity players and moved up two JV players to be able to give their starters a breather.
"This is the craziest year I've ever been a part of," said Ridenour, who has coached over 20 years and led the Green Wave's girls team to two state championships (2005 and 2013) before taking over the boys team last year.
Despite their issues, the Green Wave were in the game against the Bulldog from start to finish. They led 20-18 at the half and pulled out to a 35-29 advantage at the end of the third quarter, but FPC tied the game at 38-38 with 3:15 left.
"Basketball is a game of runs," said FPC assistant coach Pat Edmonds. "Tonight, the shots were not going in for us, but we were able to get the shots we needed down the stretch."
Father Lopez drained seven 3-pointers in the game with Eberheart hitting four. FPC connected on just two shots from beyond the arc.
"At first we were struggling on offense," Knighten said. "But we locked down on (defense), and we started moving the ball and getting some good shots."