St. Rita edges frustrated Willowbrook at buzzer
As the points flew fast and furious, Willowbrook's boys basketball team needed just one stop.
Christian Henry made sure it didn't happen.
St. Rita's junior guard scored on a runner at the buzzer to give the Mustangs a 61-59 victory over Willowbrook in Monday's opening-round action at the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic.
The bucket capped an electric fourth quarter that saw seven lead changes and six ties.
After Alec Millender tied it for the final time on a 3-pointer with about a minute to play, Henry changed the lead for the final time coming out of a timeout with 4.2 seconds remaining. Willowbrook's Deandre Holliday nearly got a breakaway steal on the sideline right before the timeout but he couldn't keep the ball inbounds.
"I feel like we're on the brink of getting over the hump," said Warriors coach Chris Perkins, whose team has lost four straight to strong competition. "They know they're a good team. Our effort is great. Every game is going down to the wire. I really feel like they're locked in."
Everett Stubblefield III scored 19 of his game-high 21 points in the first half as Willowbrook (4-6) scored the game's first 12 points and led by as many as 16 points. St. Rita (8-4) got its perimeter shooting going late in the half and rallied to within 34-33 at the break following a 15-2 run.
"There was energy from both teams," Stubblefield said. "They went on runs and we went on runs. Both teams played hard to the end. We just had a lot of turnovers and a lot of careless passes. We couldn't get that last stop when we needed it."
Willowbrook again jumped to a 40-33 advantage at the start of the third quarter but the Mustangs quickly surged to their first lead at 41-40. Willowbrook's Sam Bruns scored 8 of his 11 points in the fourth quarter as the lead went back and forth. Sam Tumilty scored 6 of his 9 points in the period.
Millender led St. Rita with 17 points while Henry scored 16 points. Haven Pryor scored 9 points for Willowbrook.
Thirteen of Willowbrook's 19 turnovers came in the middle quarters.