East Lansing — There would be no buzzer-beater for Traveon Maddox Jr. and Novi this time.
Instead, it was Drew Pedersen who broke Novi’s heart, making a pair of 3-pointers to spark a 12-2 fourth-quarter run to lift Holland West Ottawa to a 53-50 victory over Novi in a Class A state semifinal Friday afternoon at Breslin Center.
Novi (17-9) picked the wrong time to have a poor shooting day, at just 6-of-28 on 3-pointers. It shot 34.5 percent from the field. Still, Novi was in contention to earn a spot in the championship game after winning its first regional in school history.
Novi did it with its 3-point shooting, with Jiovanni Miles making a long-range shot to cut West Ottawa’s lead to 37-35 late in the third quarter and Trendon Hankerson making another 3-pointer for a 38-37 lead to open up the fourth quarter, followed by Maddox’s three-point play to end the 9-0 run for a 41-37 cushion with 7:27 left.
But West Ottawa answered Novi’s run with one of its own for the difference.
Pedersen finished with 12 points, making four 3-pointers, including the two during the run to open up a 49-43 lead with 1:30 remaining. Xavier Wade and Tyler Bosma each scored 13, with Bosma also grabbing 12 rebounds.
West Ottawa (25-2) advanced to Saturday’s 12:15 title game against Clarkston by playing strong defense down the stretch, including Jon Hofmeyer taking a charge on Maddox’s driving layup with Novi leading 41-39, and a pair of block shots by Bosma.
Novi (17-9) still had a chance to pull even with 20 seconds left, but Hankerson’s 3-pointer was short and Bosma made two free throws, after getting fouled, with 9.4 seconds left for a 53-48 cushion.
“We had a goal set to play tomorrow and it’s tough,” Novi coach Brandon Sinawi said. “Sometimes throughout the course of the season you don’t play a great game and unfortunately for us it was today. I felt we hung with them and played tough, just unfortunately we didn’t get some shots to fall for us, didn’t get some rebounds to secure and didn’t get to the free throw line as much or if at all (making 4-of-5).”
Novi did hold a 39-28 rebounding advantage, 16-5 at the offensive end, but scored just 13 second-chance points.
Pedersen knocked down the big shots and also played well defensively on Oakland-bound Maddox, limiting him to 13 points on 4-of-14 shooting, 1-of-6 on 3-pointers.
“I like the challenge of guarding a guy who is probably more athletic than me, a little stronger with the ball than me so it’s a good opportunity to be able to be the guy who can stop the best player and get some steals and rebounds to get to the offensive end,” said Pedersen, who slowed down Maddox, who made game-winning shots in the final seconds of the regional title win over Ann Arbor Skyline and in the quarterfinal victory Tuesday against Belleville.
Wade had been looking to get to Breslin since West Ottawa lost to Grand Rapids Christian in last year’s regional championship game.
“Obviously, we weren’t happy about how things ended last year so that’s really been our motivation during the off-season, work hard just to get here,” Wade said.
West Ottawa has gotten the job done at the free=throw line during the postseason, going 20-for-20 in a regional final win over Muskegon, then 9-of-10 Tuesday during the fourth quarter of a quarterfinal win over East Lansing. It was 11-of-15 in the semifinal, 6-of-7 during the final two minutes.
Tariq Woody, a 6-9 senior, had 14 points and 16 rebounds for Novi.
All games at Breslin Center
Clarkston 74, Warren De La Salle 49
Holland West Ottawa 53, Novi 50
Final: 12:15, Saturday
Benton Harbor 60, River Rouge 49
Grand Rapids CC 69, New Haven 53
Final: 6:45, Saturday
Detroit Edison 55, GR Covenant Christian 43
Maple City Glen Lake 62, Monroe St. Mary CC 56
Final: 4:30 p.m., Saturday
Southfield Christian 71, Dollar Bay 32
Buckley 65, Hillsdale Academy 55
Final: 10 a.m., Saturday