YORK - "Pretty gritty, weren't they?" asked a pleased and proud Scott Lambertyc with a twinkle in his eye after his Dukes stole one from what was a 5-1 Plattsmouth team when the game began.
When it ended the Dukes had scratched out a gutsy 51-48 win with last-second heroics from Jonah Otte.
York led 11-5 at one point in the first period, only to have the Blue Devils rally to lead 12-11 after eight minutes of play. York was up 19-18 at halftime after freezing the ball the last 1:20 of the second period, then getting a buzzer beater from JJ Schulz when Otte drew the defense to himself at the baseline, then dished to Schulz who was parked in the paint and waiting.
After three periods it was once again Plattsmouth's turn to lead by one, 33-32.
York's high-caliber fourth period began with a two from Grant Suddarth, but that just drew the Dukes within two, 36-34. When Blue Devil Connor Dukes drained a three it was 39-34 Plattsmouth at 6:50 of the fourth.
John Erwin, who earlier canned a trey at 1:55 of the third to boost York, hit a two for the Dukes that made the board read 39-36. The Blue Devils went ahead 44-38 and things were looking shaky for the hosts until buckets by Cade Zumpfe and Otte, the latter at 4:40, got York to within four, 44-40.
Then lightning struck when Drew Hoffman hit one of his two 3-pointers in the game with 4:00 left to go. Otte scored on the break at 3:10 and suddenly Lamberty's Dukes were within one, trailing 46-45.
Dukes hit one of two free throws for the Blue Devils, who now led 48-46 when Lamberty called timeout with 52.8 ticks left on the game clock.
With :26 to go Erwin hit a little jumper that loomed very big... give the assist to Schulz.
That motivated Blue Devil coach Dave Snyder to call a halt himself with :09.3 left and the game tied 48-all.
Lamberty said he told Otte to get the ball ... somehow ... and take it to the hole.
"I said he would have time to get there, but he wouldn't have time to pass," Lamberty said.
With about five seconds left the senior muscled the ball away near the Blue Devil bench and raced to the other end on the dribble. Otte rolled in the layup despite being hammered, drew the foul and hit his free throw with two seconds left.
It was 51-48, but the Dukes still had to hold their breaths while a mile-long heave just missed for the Blue Devils at the final horn.
"Jonah!" said a breathless and flush-faced Lamberty moments after the the end. "That steal was just amazing ... then the (Plattsmouth) kid almost hit the three-quarter court shot. That's just our luck."
But not this time as York improved to 3-3 and Plattsmouth fell to 5-2.
"That was a good basketball team," said Lamberty. "A top-five team."
Lamberty said Otte's defense was a key, too.
"He's had to play post defense" for his career, but with Suddarth and the 6-4 Erwin available this year "we moved him out to the wing. Jonah's going to have to be our wing defense for now," said the coach.
"The kids just did a great job. After the last game (a loss) they responded so well. They led a lot of the game, then hit some big threes in a row. We have great shooters," he said. His kids "did a great job of just keeping their poise, attacking the basket and then they knocked down shots."
The Dukes profited by a game-high 19 points from Otte on eight 2-pointers and 3-5 at the stripe. Erwin hit for 11 on four twos and a three. Schulz and Hoffman scored nine and eight.
Travis Sabatka and CJ Neumann paced the Blue Devils with 11 each to which Jamie Pellan added 10.
York will square off against the Elkhorn Antlers for the holiday tournament championship at 5:45 this afternoon. Plattsmouth and St. Paul play for third at 2:30 p.m.
Plattsmouth (5-2) ............................ 12 6 15 15 - 48
York (3-3) ........................................ 11 8 13 19 - 51
Plattsmouth: Dukes 3 (2) 1-2 9, T. Sabatka 4 (2) 1-1 11, Neumann 5 (1) 0-0 11, N.Sabatka 2 0-0 4, Hasty 1 (1) 0-0 3, Pellan 4 2-6 10. Totals - 17 (6) 4-9 48.
York: Zumpfe 1 0-0 2, Schulz 4 (1) 0-1 9, Hoffmann 3 (2) 0-0 8, Suddarth 1 0-2 2, Otte 8 3-5 19, Erwin 5 (1) 0-0 11. Totals - 22 (4) 3-8 51.