Rookie MacAulay hits game-winner in overtime for Capers

Jason Malloy
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Jack MacAulay nailed a corner trey at the buzzer to clinch the Cape Breton Capers an Atlantic University Sport (AUS) playoff spot a week ago today.

The Charlottetown native had not played in overtime at home against the Dalhousie Tigers.

Trailing by one, Kyle Hankins fouled Dalhousie's Sven Stammberger with 11 seconds to play.

Coach Matt Skinn turned to the freshman MacAulay.

After Stammberger went 1-for-2 from the free-throw line, the Capers quickly moved the ball up the floor and Kenny Jean-Louis found the rookie in the corner.

"I just caught it and shot it right away," MacAulay explained on Wednesday. "As soon as I shot it I knew it was in."

The Capers won the contest 85-84 against the AUS's top-ranked Tigers.

MacAulay said it was among the biggest shots of his career, just behind a late three to beat Quebec at the under-14 Eastern Canadian championship.

Last week's shot meant a lot to MacAulay, but not for himself.

"It was really just for the fifth years, to give them another shot at the playoffs," he explained. "They've helped me so much all year. I learned a lot from them, so it was the least I could do for them."

MacAulay was on the floor with the veterans in the dying seconds of overtime.

"He'll always be in there for us in those situations," Skinn said. "It's not a fluke that he's a good shooter . . . He's put in the work to become a good player."

He called MacAulay "a gym rat," who has gained the trust of his teammates.

"They see what he does in practice. They see the work he puts in. They have all the confidence in the world to give him the ball when he's open," he said.

MacAulay has confidence in his own abilities and he credits coaches like Jason MacDonald and Ryan Keliher for trusting him to shoot a lot growing up.

MacAulay was named to the AUS all-rookie team on Thursday after the combo guard averaged eight points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists during his 18-game season.

Skinn had a good scout when he was recruiting MacAulay. His roommate at Cape Breton University when he was a player was Keliher, MacAulay's high school coach at Charlottetown Rural. Skinn sees potential for MacAulay's game to grows as becomes stronger during the next four years.

MacAulay and his Caper teammates play Acadia today in the quarter-final at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.

Organizations: Atlantic University Sport, Dalhousie Tigers, Cape Breton University Scotiabank Centre

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Quebec, Halifax

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