2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 12/1/2017 10:07 PM

Willowbrook falls to Proviso East in OT

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By Gregg Voss
Daily Herald Correspondent

Yeah, this one stings.

But that's what a buzzer-beating loss will do.

The Willowbrook boys basketball team was the victim Friday night in its West Suburban Gold opener at Proviso East, falling 74-72 in overtime to the Pirates on a jumper by senior guard Jaelon Hood as time expired.

"It hurts," Willowbrook coach Chris Perkins said. "It definitely stings. We have lofty goals this season, so any loss this year will sting. We've got the whole lineup back from last year, so we have a veteran group, and anytime we lose, it should hurt."

Proviso East put together a 7-0 run to start the overtime period, but the Warriors battled back in the last 1:31, responding with a 7-0 run of their own, including a 3-pointer by junior guard Scotty Tumilty at 1:20 that cut the deficit to 72-70.

Willowbrook (4-1, 0-1) tied the game with eight seconds left on a Hood turnover that led to a layup by senior guard Matthew Myers, who corralled a rebound off a miss by teammate Cornelius Paxton Jr.

But while victory was within reach for Willowbrook, it wasn't within grasp. Proviso East (4-1, 1-0) drove the length of the floor in the final eight seconds, with junior guard Devin Spencer firing up desperation 3 from the left corner.

He missed, but Hood was on the opposite side of the basket and dropped in the game-winner from the baseline. Pandemonium ensued as the exhausted Warriors wondered what just happened.

"Taking care of home court (in conference) is going to be crucial," Perkins said. "They took care of home court today. I thought we had an opportunity. It came down to the last possession, and in a game like this, whoever has the ball at the end has a high-percentage chance of winning."

Willowbrook looked to be in control of the contest by the end of the first half, putting together a 10-0 run in the final 2:57, thanks to a dunk off a steal by senior forward Ethan Schuemer at 2:26 and a 3 from junior guard Matas Masys from the left corner at 1:41. Masys would go on to add a free throw and a layup in the final 1:17.

But Proviso East proved it could shoot the 3 as well, dropping 7 in the second half, including Spencer's from the right corner with 1:53 left in regulation, and senior guard Trevor Moore's 20 seconds later that gave the Pirates a 65-63 lead. Schuemer postponed the loss by tying the game with a layup off Paxton's miss with 1:13 to go.

"We knew they were a tough opponent," said Masys, who finished with 17 points, including four 3-pointers. "It's a long season, but it's tough, and it hurts right now."

Schuemer recorded a double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds, including 6 offensive. Myers chipped in 16 points, including 9 in the crucial fourth quarter that countered the Pirates' 3-point barrage.

Count Proviso East coach Donnie Boyce was impressed with the Warriors, who employed a 3-2 zone the entire game, which led to 19 Proviso East turnovers.

"In the first half we got a nice big dose of humble pie," said the former University of Colorado star. "They beat us at our style. We had two good teams competing."

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