Metea Valley senior Cory Adams is trying to squeeze in as much fun -- and wins -- as possible in the second half of his senior season.
The Mustangs may have started their campaign a little slow for Adams' liking, but Friday night the reserve guard stepped up big with the game on the line and helped Metea Valley rally for a double-overtime 88-80 DuPage Valley Conference win over visiting Wheaton North.
Adams sent the game into the first overtime when his 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left knotted the score at 63-63 and erased what was a 12-point deficit after three quarters.
"Man, I practice this shot all the time," Adams said. "I just let it ride. I had a lot of confidence in myself. I know coach has got confidence in me. So I just let it ride and glory to God it fell in."
Adams, who added another big 3 in overtime, scored all 9 of his points off the bench beginning with his shot in the waning seconds of regulation. But he was just one of many heroes for the Mustangs. Three players fouled out, Ethan Helwig tallied 24 points, Holden Rank starred on both offense and defense, and Jens Petersen made three big shots after replacing teammates who had departed with five fouls.
"This season has probably been my favorite season ever and this was the most fun tonight," Adams said. "The season maybe didn't start the way I wanted it to. But you keep faith and it all starts to come around.
"We got two big wins this week counting the one against (Naperville) Central. We owe both of these teams. The first times we came out we were flat. This time we knew we knew we could show what we're about and we showed it."
Rank showed a little of everything, hitting a trio of 3s to score 22 points, but it was his back-to-back steals late in the second overtime that allowed Metea Valley (11-10, 5-5) to erase a 76-72 Falcons' lead.
"We talked about it all week because they try and get it into their post guys," Rank said. "Coach (Matt Walpole) always told me to pick off that pass because we don't want them to get it down low. I kind of read it right and got a couple steals and it worked out."
Wheaton North (10-11, 5-6) had plenty of chances to win, and after a stellar second quarter it looked as if they would leave Aurora with a win. After the Mustangs led 16-11 after one quarter, Wheaton North used a 26-10 run in the second quarter to build an 11-point lead at the half. The visitors made 7 of 9 shots from the floor -- including 4 for 4 from beyond the arc and made all eight of their free throws in the quarter.
The twin towers of Josh Sorenson and Deng Reng each reached 20 points and two other players scored in double figures, but the Falcons just couldn't close out the victory.
"We lost control of the game," Falcons coach Dave Brackman said. "They hit tons of big shots and we made a lot of mistakes down the stretch, unfortunately. I feel really bad for the kids right now. They came in. and played really hard … tried to stick together. I thought we had really good mojo throughout the night.
"We made a lot of good plays, but then we'd make mistakes and combined with the fact that their shooting percentage from 3s had to be really, really high down the stretch and in the overtime."
Walpole said: "Tonight was a just a good old-fashioned conference barnburner. It was fun."