De La Salle’s George Willborn has been talking all season about showing people that he is a big-time player.
The junior guard made a strong case on Friday in front of the home crowd, hitting the game-winning shot in a 50-47 Catholic League victory over Loyola.
With 7.5 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and De La Salle (4-1, 1-0 Catholic South) trailing 47-45, Willborn called for the ball on the left corner of the arc, six feet behind the three-point line.
The second the ball touched his hands, Willborn released the shot with a sweet follow through and hopped on one foot as the ball soared high in the air before swishing through the net.
‘‘This was a real back-and- forth battle all night. There was a lot of adversity,’’ said Willborn, who finished with 11 points. ‘‘We just wanted to get a win so bad at home and I wanted to be the one to make the winning shot.
‘‘I want to be a great player and great players have to make the big shots. Tonight, that’s what I did.”
Loyola missed its final attempt for the victory and Brandon Hutton made two free throws for De La Salle with less than a second remaining to ice the win.
The Ramblers (3-2, 0-1 Catholic North) seemed to be on the cusp of snatching a big win on the road when Brandon Danowski (13 points) made a baseline three to give the Ramblers a 47-45 lead just seconds before Willborn’s heroics.
Loyola senior guard Michael Mangan had a dominating performance in the fourth quarter, where he scored 15 of his 25 points.
De La Salle had no answer for the small, but scrappy Mangan, who blew by defenders at will and scored in the lane against taller Meteor players.
But for the Iowa-bound Hutton (15 points), all that matters for De La Salle is winning its first conference game.
‘‘A win like this is big for our team,” Hutton said. ‘‘This brings us a lot closer and will allow us to play together, play for one another, as the season goes on.
‘‘This shows that we are a good. But we can be a great team.’’