- Associated Press - Saturday, March 22, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The play wasn’t even designed to go to Marsalis Hamilton.

Yet he hit the shot heard ‘round the state.

Hamilton hit a tying 3-pointer at the regulation buzzer, and Associated Press first-team All-Ohioan Kipper Nichols hit two clinching free throws in overtime to propel Lakewood St. Edward to a 62-58 victory over Upper Arlington on Saturday night for the Division I state championship.

“I was counting in my head. Tony (Vuyancih) wasn’t open. Kipper wasn’t open,” Hamilton said. “I took a dribble to get some room and let it go - and it hit the bottom of the net.”

A laughing Nichols said he couldn’t have been happier that the designed play didn’t develop.

“Marsalis started to dribble, and I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Nichols said. “I thought our season was over.”

St. Ed coach Eric Flannery expressed something less than confidence in Hamilton.

“I don’t want to say I don’t have confidence in Marsalis, but when he shot the ball I was kind of like, ‘Oh!’” he said. “But it went in. Unbelievable.”

In the overtime, Nichols stepped to the line with St. Ed (26-2) hanging on to a 60-58 lead with 5.8 seconds left. He drained both to clinch the Eagles’ second title and first since 1998. They had been thwarted six other times in the state tournament.

“It was a lot of luck and working hard,” Nichols said. “And never giving up.”

Danny Hummer and first-team all-stater Kevin Vannatta each had 15 points for the Golden Bears (27-2), who were seeking their first championship since 1937. The Golden Bears led most of the game but were never on top in the overtime.

It appeared UA would pull the stunner after making two 3s late in regulation.

Vannatta made a 3 over Nichols on the left wing. After Nichols was long on a 15-foot jumper, Wes Davis poured in a 3 from the left foul-line extended, and the lead was 48-42 with 3:21 remaining.

St. Ed, scrambling on defense and rushing back on the break, cut it to 48-47 when Hummer was fouled with 35 seconds left. He made both, part of a clutch 6 for 6 showing at the line.

Vuyancih then drove to the basket and hit a layup to make it a one-point game. Inbounding under the St. Ed basket, UA’s Vannatta threw a pass to midcourt to a streaking Hummer who hit the layup with 11 seconds left for a three-point lead.

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