Darcy Harding has produced the shot of his life to get the Bandits out of jail in a thrilling contest against the Geelong Supercats on Friday night.
With six seconds on the clock, the Bandits took a timeout to advance the ball and executed their play to perfection, with Harding’s long-range attempt finding the basket to hand the home side a 98-97 triumph and send the crowd into raptures.
Harding said he had never been in a position like that in such a big game before.
“My nerves were down, I wasn't feeling a thing, just thinking about hitting that shot, that's all you can do,” Harding said.
My nerves were down, I wasn't feeling a thing, just thinking about hitting that shot, that's all you can do.Darcy Harding
“To hit that shot for my team and for the fans here is awesome.
“It was either a shot for Deba or myself, but I was just lucky enough he got double-teamed, which happens to him a lot, and I was lucky to get the shot.”
The Bandits were on fire in the opening quarter and raced to a 35-25 lead at the first break, before taking a handy 57-49 advantage into half-time.
However, the Supercats cut the deficit to four at the end of the third term, before taking the lead halfway through the final period.
The game appeared to be lost for the Bandits until Harding’s five-point burst in the final seconds.
TJ Robinson was also impressive, finishing the contest with 23 points and 15 rebounds, before having to sit the final minutes on the bench after being fouled out.
Bandits’ coach Brad Chalmers knows there is plenty to work on, but was pleased to get the win.
“We made it hard for ourselves, but a couple of really good shots at the end was a real positive,” Chalmers said.
“The last two plays we executed perfectly and we got five points from out-of-bounds plays, which is really good for us.
“I was really rapt for Darcy to make some big plays.
“It was good that in the important part of the game, the other guys stepped up.”
Chalmers admitted his side ran out of steam in the second half.
“At the back end of the first half, we were on about 50 points and we only scored about five points before the half,” he said.
“After that we never really got any offensive flow back.”
Both the Bandits and Lady Bandits will back up on Saturday night with a road trip to Bendigo against the Braves.
“It would have been really deflating if we had have gone down, so this gives us a little bit of a chance to grab the win and quickly regroup, because we're going to have to be better tomorrow (Saturday) night,” Chalmers added.