South Elgin senior guard Matt McClure threw water on a hot shooter, then scored the final 5 points in overtime to seal a 69-65 victory over Prairie Ridge at the Hinkle Holiday Classic at Jacobs Thursday morning.
Prairie Ridge senior Michael Bradshaw helped the Wolves erase a 9-point, fourth-quarter deficit by connecting on four 3-pointers in 5 attempts.
The Wolves had a chance to to take a late lead at the free-throw line in regulation. However, trailing 60-59, Bradshaw missed the front end of the bonus and with 20 seconds left and 6-foot-3 senior forward Ryan Gilbert managed only to split a pair with 12.3 seconds to play, leaving the contest knotted 60-60.
The game went to overtime when South Elgin sophomore Matt Smith's 3-point attempt caught the front of the iron at the buzzer.
Bradshaw capped his 19-point performance by sinking his fifth 3-pointer of the game at the start overtime, thereby staking the Wolves to their first lead since the second quarter. However, that was it for Bradshaw, who was then shadowed by McClure in a box-and-one defense and limited to a lone 2-point attempt the rest of the way.
"Basically, we did not want to let him have any more open threes," McClure said. "He was killing us with the threes in the second half. We thought if we could limit that, we'd be able to stop the rest of their offense."
"They made a nice adjustment, but we still have other players," PR coach Corky Card said. "They just made plays."
McClure answered with a 3-pointer of his own, his third of the game, from the top of the arc with 2:22 left in overtime to give South Elgin (6-6) a 67-65 lead.
Prairie Ridge (6-5) had chances to tie but turned the ball over twice in a 16-second span of overtime's final minute. McClure drained 2 free throws to make it a 2-possession game with 17 seconds left.
The win was the second straight for South Elgin (6-6), which finished pool play 2-1. The Storm jumped to a 28-17 lead after a quarter by sinking 6 of 8 shots from 3-point range, 10 of 14 overall. They did so without leading scorer Darius Wells, who did not enter the game until the third quarter because he missed shootaround, his coach said. McClure (15 points) and guard Justin Howard each sank a pair from long range while Julian Lynch and Matt Smith drilled 1 apiece.
"We came out guns blazing," said Smith, who led South Elgin with 17 points. "It really helps when we get the ball swung around and get open shots. When we're hitting, we're hitting."
Most of South Elgin's made 3-pointers came in the transition game.
"We hit almost 50 percent of them when we get in transition, as opposed to 20 percent when we get it in the half court," South Elgin coach Matt Petersen said. "Those are shots I'll let them take."