WOODSTOCK – Woodstock appeared to be headed for another overtime period against Grayslake Central, which would have suited the Blue Streaks just fine.
Sophomore forward Nick Kubiak scored from the low left block with seven seconds remaining, just as he had a few minutes earlier to force overtime, to tie the score. The Rams were scrambling and any quality shot off an in-bound pass in the front court did not materialize.
So Grayslake Central had to settle for what it could get, which turned out to be good enough.
Rams guard Malcolm Reed took a pass from Charlie Anderson and launched a 25-foot 3-pointer that banked through at the buzzer for a 50-47 victory in their Fox Valley Conference Fox Division boys basketball game Wednesday night at James M. Shipley Memorial Gymnasium.
Grayslake Central’s bench erupted in celebration as Reed grinned and gave a quick look at Woodstock’s student section.
“I just knew there was enough time for me to shoot,” Reed said. “I called ‘Bank’ in my head. I was hoping to hit the game-winning shot after we called timeout. I put my mind to it and my teammates found me open. We got the win, it wasn’t just me.”
The win puts the Rams (9-7 overall, 5-0 FVC Fox) in control in the division. Woodstock fell to 7-10, 2-1.
“I was hoping we’d get another overtime,” Streaks forward Mason Sutter said. “But [Reed] hit a great shot.”
Woodstock had not led in the game since 4-3 in the first quarter. The Streaks had fallen behind, 35-24, early in the fourth quarter and 6-foot-7 center Damian Stoneking, their leading scorer at 12.6 points a game, played sparingly in the second half with a left shoulder injury. When he was on the floor, Stoneking often grimaced and appeared to have trouble lifting his left arm.
“We knew we could come back,” said Woodstock guard Mitch Kohley, who hit two fourth-quarter 3s. “We have confidence and we started making some shots. Nick [Kubiak] was outstanding helping us get back into it at the end.”
Woodstock picked up its defensive pressure and Grayslake Central committed seven turnovers in the fourth quarter. The Rams held the lead until Kubiak banked in a 6-footer with eight seconds remaining in regulation. Grayslake Central also led all of overtime until Kubiak’s basket that set up the final play.
“It helped [playing with the lead[, but it was more frustrating that we had an 11-point lead and let their pressure get to us,” Rams coach Brian Moe said. “We always had the lead and made just enough plays, just enough free throws, got just enough rebounds to keep the lead or keep it tied.”
Woodstock applied full-court pressure on the last play and forward Mike Chonos deflected the ball out of bounds in Grayslake Central’s front court with five seconds remaining. From there, Anderson took an in-bound pass and drew a crowd, then got the ball to Reed.
“I wanted to drop back in our zone and defend because you’re probably not going to force a turnover there,” Streaks coach Alex Baker said. “Most teams are going to have a better late-clock play against man-to-man than against a zone. I thought we played them well, they got confused. We wanted to be sure to defend Anderson. Reed’s hit a few [3s], but that surprised me.”
Kohley led Woodstock with 12 points and Sutter added 11 with 10 rebounds.