In this business of sports writing, we are almost always working against a deadline.

Tuesday night was no different, when Nanticoke Area and Tunkhannock tipped off at 7:35 p.m. for a regionally televised Wyoming Valley Conference boys basketball game.

The late start time, media timeouts and overtime made for a late finish.

Here was my finished product, a game report on page B1 of Wednesday’s Citizens’ Voice that summarizes the game with this lede:

NANTICOKE — First, it appeared Nanticoke Area would coast to victory while protecting a 14-point lead.

Then, it looked like Tunkhannock couldn’t possibly blow its seven-point lead with 48 seconds to play.

But, still, this game was far from over.

Nanticoke Area junior point guard Nate Kreitzer made the shot of the year — a half-court prayer at the fourth-quarter buzzer — which sent the game into overtime.

Tuesday’s game finally reached its conclusion when sharp-shooting junior Tyler Faux made a 3-pointer and followed it with a pair of free throws that clinched a 56-51 Tunkhannock win in Wyoming Valley Conference boys basketball.

While I’m happy with that article, sometimes, we sports writers would like nothing more than 200 extra words and 60 more minutes to convey all that happened in what we just watched.

I’ve had that feeling a few times, most recently Nov. 14 in Whitehall, where I covered a double-header that led to Wyoming Seminary and Valley West earning spots in state championship field hockey games.

Then, I had that feeling again Tuesday night after watching a game unfold like this:

  • Tunkhannock can’t possibly come back and win
  • Nanticoke Area can’t possibly come back and win
  • Tunkhannock can’t possibly come back and win
  • Tunkhannock came back and won
  • (As a Penn State fan, it sadly reminded me of the recent Rose Bowl loss to USC)

Luckily, the Varsity Voice blog is here for me to collect my thoughts and share them in long-form.

So, please, consider this my final word from Tuesday night’s epic thriller in Nanticoke.

Having already clinched the WVC Division 2 league title, Nanticoke Area entered Tuesday with little to lose. Tunkhannock, however, could find itself on the outside-looking-in at the eight-team District 2 Class 4A playoff tournament if it lost back-to-back games to end the season.

Nanticoke Area opened the game on fire. Jake Krupinski made a 3-pointer on the first shot of the game. Nate Kreitzer followed with a banked-in 3 from the left wing. Krupinski struck again with another 3, giving the Trojans a 9-0 lead just 1:43 into the game.

Nanticoke Area stayed pretty hot throughout the first half, which ended like this:

Leading by 10 points at halftime, there was no reason to believe Nanticoke Area would blow this lead.

The Trojans pushed their lead to 14 points, 36-22, when Kreitzer hit a pair of 3s on consecutive possessions.

But after Trahjan Krupinski, a standout forward for Nanticoke Area, left the game with an injury, Tunkhannock took advantage and ramped up its defensive pressure.

Tyler Faux played the half of his life for Tunkhannock. The junior scored seven points in the third quarter, nine in the fourth, and five in overtime for 21 total points.

Among Faux’s biggest points: the stepback left-corner 3 he hit with 2:10 left, which cut Tunkhannock’s deficit to 39-38. Faux then made four free throws (42-39 lead), Jack Chilson nailed a pair of free throws (44-39) and Faux made two more (46-39) to give Tunkhannock a 46-39 lead with 48 seconds left.

At this point, Tunkhannock head coach Spencer Lunger had to be feeling pretty good about his Tigers. They were making all their shots. They were playing amazing defense. Kreitzer was practically neutralized.

But, if we learned anything from Nanticoke Area’s PIAA state playoff win last year against Bethlehem Catholic, it’s that you can’t count this team out.

Kreitzer made a 3, which started an 8-1 Nanticoke Area rally inside the final minute.

Now, Nanticoke Area had one chance with an inbound pass from sidelines with 0.4 seconds left to tie the game.

Having covered hundreds of games in various sports over my career with The Daily Collegian and The Citizens’ Voice, I’ve seen these last-second passes, hits, steals and shots too many times to count.

But, here’s a few:

Pretty amazing, all of them, right?

But I don’t think any were more improbable than Kreitzer’s half-court heave, which, let’s be honest, were you really that surprised he made it?

“Definitely a huge shot and he’s been doing that his whole career,” Nanticoke Area head coach John Beggs said of Kreitzer.

According to Twitter analytics, that video’s been viewed 27,000-plus times with 100,000-plus impressions. Shout out to MaxPreps and SportsCenter’s Snapchat for sharing it, too.

Also, Fox56 Sports had a good angle of the shot:

After Kreitzer’s shot, he was (rightfully) mobbed by teammates in a brief celebration before the Trojans and Tigers set their sights on overtime.

And, would you believe, after all that, Tunkhannock came back and won?

Nanticoke Area did score the first point of the extra period with Colby Butczynski’s free throw, which gave it a 48-47 lead. However, Avery Billings scored a putback and then Evan Turner made two free throws.

Kreitzer came back and nailed a 3 to tie the game, 51-51, with 55 seconds left.

But then Faux scored five straight points to end the game.

I can’t speak for coach Lunger, but this has to be the biggest win of his career yet at Tunkhannock, right?

Sure, it was just a regular-season game. But to knock off the league champion and do so in such amazing fashion … and in overtime?

What an incredible game.