By ANDRES MARTINEZ
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
GRIGGSVILLE, Ill. -- When the Liberty boys basketball team needs a game-winning shot, it's a safe bet Michael Blewett will have the ball in his hands.
That doesn't mean he has to be the only who always takes the shot.
In the closing seconds of overtime Wednesday in the semifinals of the Class 1A Griggsville-Perry Regional, Blewett had the ball with Liberty trailing Winchester West Central by a point when a double-team chased him.
Instead of forcing the issue, Blewett dished to Connor Wolf, who hit a short jumper as time expired for a 49-48 victory.
"I was open," Wolf said. "I saw my big guy, Isaac Murfin, open, and I had the option of kicking to him. I had the confidence in myself to pull up and make the shot."
Just like Blewett had the confidence to give up the ball.
"Coach told me to go down the floor and score," Blewett said. "I got double teamed."
So he did the next best thing. He passed.
"Guys are going to send doubles, triples at him. He's just got to find the open guy," Liberty coach Andy Douglas said. "(We just) have to trust his shot, and trust him making a play, and we have all the faith in the world in him."
Moments earlier, Blewett cashed in on that trust.
Trailing 40-37 late in the fourth quarter, the Eagles forced a turnover with 1:12 to play. Liberty senior Kody Leapley missed a layup, but West Central turned the ball over on the rebound.
Wolf then made a jumper with 39.2 to play to cut the lead to one. West Central junior Austin Boehs was fouled and made both free throws to extend the lead to 42-39 with 36.9 to play. The Eagles held the ball until only seconds remained and then turned Blewett loose.
Blewett went around a pick, cleared up some space and made a 3-pointer with 12 seconds to play to tie the game at 42.
"(Douglas) said just create, and get up the best three you could get," Blewett said. "I was patient with it, and I shot when I was open, and it went in."
After Barnett made a free throw to give the Cougars a 45-44 lead, Blewett made a layup, was fouled, and made the free throw to give the Eagles a 47-45 lead with 34.6 to play. The Cougars responded quickly, when Hunter Bettis was left open and made a 3-pointer to give the Cougars a 48-47 lead with 13.4 to play.
Blewett and Wolf did the rest, setting up a rematch with top-seeded Payson Seymour in the regional championship.
"Regular season doesn't matter at this point," Blewett said. "Whoever wants it the most is going to come out with the victory."