Buffalo Wild Wings is a sponsor of the Jacobs Holiday tournament, but one might have to ask if someone working at the chain's Algonquin facility that's within walking distance of the school (and a Jim Hinkle hangout) was watching with intent or shooting another commercial and purposely hit the overtime button during the matchup between South Elgin and Cary-Grove Thursday.
The teams combined for 15 3-pointers on the soft Eagles Nest rims, none more important at the time than the step back 3 by Cary-Grove's Jason Gregorie with 12 seconds to go that tied the game at 59 and forced overtime after a 3-point exhibition in regulation broke loose.
But South Elgin (4-11) eventually worked it back inside to 6-foot-4 senior Ryne Lundy during overtime. Lundy scored the first basket near the glass and finished with 10 of his 24 points in the extra session to give the Storm a thrilling 74-67 win. South Elgin finished 2-1 in pool play while Cary-Grove (7-5), which had no answer for Lundy inside late, dropped to 1-2. South Elgin will take on Jacobs at 4:30 p.m. today, while Cary-Grove will face Hope Academy at 1:30 p.m.
Lundy, who also corralled 8 rebounds and nailed 4 of 7 free throws in overtime, seemed to dominate the paint and wanted the ball when it mattered most.
"I just wanted to win. We were on a 10-game losing streak up until (Wednesday) and we just wanted to keep it rolling with another win," Lundy said. "We were shooting well in the third quarter from 3-point and midrange, and in the fourth quarter and overtime we decided to feed it in the post and get it down low."
That recipe seemed to be the right call and Cary-Grove couldn't replicate. Lundy scored 5 times in the fourth and overtime in the paint.
"We had a tough time guarding (Lundy) on his little duck-in moves. We didn't defend him with our chest very well," Trojans coach Ralph Schuetzle said. "He's pretty strong, a legit 6-4 and strong, that hurt us."
South Elgin trailed by 4 at the half and used a 24-15 third quarter on 9 of 11 shooting (3 of 5 from downtown) to grab its first lead and had a 57-51 lead with 1 minute left until Steve Plazak converted a convention 3-point play after a Dean Lee steal with 46.1 seconds left that cut the lead to 1.
After Lundy's 2 free throws, Gregoire hit the step back to force OT. Gregoire finished with 25 points, hitting 4 of 5 from long distance, but when he and Plazak looked for 3s in overtime, after living by it (9 for 15) in regulation, none fell. The Trojans hoisted just 4 shots, missing all but one attempt.
"You can't continually shoot 3s," Schuetzle said, whose team shot at a 46 percent clip. "You have to level off at some point. "
That and missed layups opened the door for not only Lundy and Darius Wells, who in his second-game back from an ankle injury canned a deep 3 that gave South Elgin the lead for good at 64-61 with 2:20 left. The Storm shot 26 of 43, 4 for 4 in overtime, and 6 of 13 from 3-point.
"You live by the 3, you die by the 3e today," said Wells, who finished with 18 points and had 4 3-pointers of his own, 5 rebounds and 2 steals. "We shouldn't have let it get to overtime in the first place but they played good defense and made us turn the ball over and made open shots."
Three other Trojans scored in double figures, including Matt Motzel with 15 and Lee and Plazak with 10 each. Matt McClure added 17 for South Elgin.