Boys Basketball: Abdul-Aziz’s steal and free throw leads Skyline over Monroe

Ish Abdul-Aziz made a huge steal and then knocked down a free throw with just .8 seconds left in a tie game to give the Skyline boys’ basketball team a 40-39 victory over host Monroe in an SEC Red opener for both schools on Friday night.

The game was tied 39-39 with about 22 seconds left when Skyline’s Will Gardner worked to score inside the paint and muscled the ball into the basket but was called for an offensive foul. Monroe then brought the ball up the court with the game tied working to get the last shot when Abdul-Aziz stole the ball at half court with about 4 seconds left and raced to the other end and got fouled trying to lay the ball in with less than a second to play.

Ish made the first free throw to help give the Eagles the victory.

“The game was almost entirely a half-court battle where transition baskets rarely occurred for either team,” said Skyline Coach Mike Lovelace. “Monroe’s 3-2 zone and Skyline’s half-court man to man defense provided lots of difficulty for each team to score.”

Skyline led for most of the game – leading 9-7 after one quarter, 18-17 at halftime and 33-32 after three quarters – but Monroe did take a lead briefly in the fourth quarter.

James Harrison Jr. had an outstanding defensive game in addition to his 11 points and 4 rebounds, limiting Monroe’s talented Xander Middleton to two points in the game. Monroe was led in scoring by Andrew McCarthy with 12 points.

Skyline’s Sam Koelling also had 11 pts and 4 rebounds while Will Gardner had 8 points and 5 rebounds, Ben Stille had 7 points and 4 rebounds and Abdubl Aziz had 3 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists.

Skyline travels to Ann Arbor Huron on Tuesday, Dec 14.