The Wildcats were an atrocious eight of 21 from the line after regulation, but were clutch with their four-of-five free throw shooting when it counted the most.
“Free throw shooting is a subject we hardly talk about as a team, but it is a facet of our game that we have struggled with this season,” Woodland coach John Howard said. “Fortunately, we made our free throws at the most critical point of the game.”
Down by two, 45-43, Desmon Green’s three-point play gave Woodland the lead for good with 1:45 remaining in overtime. Green would make one-of-two and R.J. Williams hit both of his free throw attempts to extend Woodland’s lead to 51-45.
“We made it exciting that’s for sure,” Howard said. “I’m just glad to see our players respond to key situations in the game where we could have easily folded when East Paulding took the lead.”
One of those key situations occurred with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.
Woodland held the lead from the opening tipoff until 5:03 of the fourth quarter when the Raiders took their first lead, 39-38, on Lorenzo Suttles’ 3-point basket.
Excel 62, Gordon Lee 59
It was a game that gave coach Jon-Michael Nickerson a few more gray hairs than he would have liked.
“You don’t want to have too many of these type games, but it’s most enjoyable to win like to did tonight.”
An emotionally drained Nickerson described Excel’s 62-59 victory over Gordon Lee Tuesday in overtime as “unbelievable.”
Thrilling would have been the word used by the Eagles’ home crowd who stormed the court when Rudy Winters’ 3-point basket went through the basket with no time remaining on the clock in the second overtime period.
“We were tied 59-59 when Elijah Robinson came up a big steal for us,” Nickerson said. “He pushed the ball down the court as fast as he could.”
Robinson then passed the basketball to an awaiting Winters, who positioned himself at the far corner of the basket with five seconds remaining.
“The horn sounded when the ball was in the air,” Nickerson said. “It was great feeling to see that ball go through the net.”
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