The play that wound up helping Lake Mills advance to a WIAA Division 3 regional final was put in earlier in the week.
And it never worked as well in try-and-error as it did during the L-Cats game with visiting Martin Luther on March 6.
Needing to go the length of the court with just :01.8 remaining in a 65-65 game, Lake Mills coach Steve Hicklin called a timeout to remind his players of what they worked on in practice.
And after the ball was in-bounded to half court to talented junior Adam Moen, the first part of the play was executed to perfection.
The second part went beyond perfection.
Moen caught the ball, turned and let go with a heave that banked off the backboard and through the rim and net as the horn sounded, giving Lake Mills a memorable 68-65 victory over defending state-champion Martin Luther in a Division 3 regional semifinal classic.
"We added the play this week because I felt the game could very well come down to the last possesion ... I felt the two teams were that close in ability," Hicklin said after the contest in a gym buzzing with playoff hoopla. "It never worked as well in practice as it did tonight. This was one heck of a high school basketball game. I told (Martin Luther coach) Paul (Wollersheim) afterward that neither team deserved to lose."
Moen's shot capped a simply outstanding game that featured tremendous crowd noise, several momentum swings and some stellar individual plays.
Prior to the game-winner, Martin Luther senior Joey Immekus (6-2), the lone returning starter from last year's state-title team and a recruit for NCAA Division III Milwaukee School of Engineering, made three consecutive free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt with the Spartans trailing 65-62.
Moen, an athletic 6-foot-4 forward, had given Lake Mills a 65-62 lead with consecutive baskets with under a minute to go. Martin Luther got the ball back with about 18 seconds left and was out of timeouts. In the scramble to try to get a three up to tie the game, Immekus left fly with an attempt right in front of the Martin Luther bench and was fouled at the :01.8 mark.
With the crowd noise at a fever pitch, Immekus calmly sank all three charity tosses to set up Moen's heroics at the end.
"I thought it was just a great game, except for how it ended for us," Wollersheim said. "Lake Mills is extremely tough at home, especially the way they can shoot, and we competed the whole way against a tough, gritty group."
Versatile junior wing Charlie Bender (6-3) finished with 18 points and did a very good job defending Immekus for much of the contest. He also was strong at penetrating to the basket and then delivering accurate passes to teammates cutting to the basket.
Moen, an outstanding football prospect, finished with a team-high 19 points while junior Jaxson Retrum (6-5) came off the bench to score 14 points for the L-Cats, who finished the season with a 21-4 record after losing to top-ranked Racine St. Catherine's in the regional finals.
Martin Luther got 19 points from Immekus while senior guard Ryan Scholfield (5-10) added 18. Scholfield buried three shots from beyond the three-point arc and made some huge shots late in the game for the Spartans.
Also in double figures for Martin Luther were junior forward Sylvere Campbell (6-3) with 12 and junior guard Tre Burris (6-1) with 10.