From the moment he took the shot, La Salle High junior Sean Simon had no doubts.
His first three-point attempt seconds earlier, however, rimmed out with about 24 seconds left in regulation and La Salle trailing Carlisle by three Thursday evening at Widener. Fortunately for the Explorers, sophomore forward Zach Crisler corralled the rebound and gave the ball back to Simon, who pitched it to senior point guard Jarrod Stukes.
Stukes drove the middle, drew defenders and found Simon on the left wing, a few steps from the left corner where he initially misfired.
"I knew it was good as soon as it left my hand," said Simon, a transfer from Springside Chestnut Hill.
Simon's critical three-pointer sent the game into overtime and La Salle held off the Thundering Herd, 73-66, at the Pete and Jameer Nelson Play-by-Play Classic.
Simon, who helped La Salle (4-3) bounce back from a 13-point, second-quarter deficit, finished with 19 points and a game MVP plaque.
In overtime, Stukes, who finished with 14 points, converted a three-point play after grabbing the initial jump ball and jetting down court for a layup and a foul.
Crisler finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Fellow sophomore Konrad Kiszka added 19 points, eight rebounds, and a pair of momentum-changing dunks.
Carlisle was led by senior guard Deshawn Millington's 24 points, 20 of which came in the second half. Millington also added seven assists, which helped District 3 Carlisle (7-2) build an early lead.
La Salle, which only has two seniors on its roster, squandered early offensive possessions with turnovers and disjointed play but whittled the Thundering Herd's lead to 25-18 by halftime.
Simon, once a somewhat reluctant shooter when he joined the Explorers this season, finished 5 of 11 from the field and 2 of 8 from three.
"He came here and like any high-character kid he was waiting his turn," La Salle coach Joe Dempsey said.
Later, Dempsey added: "I said, 'Look, I know you haven't been here before, but neither have some of these guys, either. Don't take a back seat.' And he's starting to find his place."
Last season, Simon was the leading scorer (13.8 points) on a Blue Devils squad that went winless (0-10) in Inter-Ac play.
"I think this was important for us because nobody was really talking about us before the game," Simon said. "We were definitely the underdog coming into this game and this win can definitely boost us, especially coming up with the Catholic League."
La Salle opens league play at Lansdale Catholic on Jan. 3.
La Salle 9 9 16 19 20 - 73
Carlisle 18 7 12 16 13 - 66
LS: Sean Simon 19, Konrad Kiszka 19, Jarrod Stukes 14, Zach Crisler 14, Allen Powell 7.
C: Gavin Barnes 16, Ethan Houston 16, Deshawn Millington 24, Nate Barnes 6, Nikhi Barnes 4.