For three quarters Wednesday the Southwood boys basketball team had things under total control. They led Whitko by 8 heading to the final quarter and had held the states leading scorer, Whitko’s Logan Irwin 20 points under his average.
How things can change in a hurry. Led by Irwin’s 9 fourth quarter points, the Wildcats erased the 8 point lead and held on for a comeback win over Southwood 60-59.
With both teams being in the middle of the pack in the TRC race, this game meant propelling yourself towards to top or having to play catchup the rest of the TRC season.
Whitko got things started with Alex Stoddard and Logan Irwin hitting the first two buckets of the game to take a 4-0 lead. Levi Sutton would hit a free throw and Connor Hobbs a three pointer to knot the score, then Jackson Blair drained a three and the Knights were up 7-4. With the game tied at 8 the Knights would begin to take control. Blair would hit, followed by a three point play from Hobbs and a bucket from Ross Phillipy and the Knights led 15-8. Irwin and Levi Winget would trade buckets, as would Stoddard and Sexton Boggs and the Knights led 19-13 after one.
The pace of the game would slow a little in the second quarter as the adrenaline from both teams come back down to earth. Stoddard and Blair would trade buckets, Blair’s a three to make it 22-15. Stoddard would then hit again, followed by Irwin to make it 22-19 and the Wildcats called timeout. Coming out of the timeout, the Whitko defense held and Irwin hit again, cutting it to 22-21. Blair would answer with back to back buckets to extend the Knight lead back to 26-21. On the insuing Whitko possession, Grant Keaffaber stole the ball and crashed to the floor on the layup, injuring himself and leaving the game with 2:04 to go. Sexton Boggs replaced Keaffaber, hitting one of the two free throws, followed by a Hobbs bucket and the Knights led 29-21 at the half.
Winget would hit to start the third quarter, followed by a Trey Weber three to make it 31-24. Southwood would build the lead to 36-27 when Whitko coach Rob Irwin would get whistled for a cheap technical foul at the 5:17 mark. Hobbs would drain both free throws and Southwood led 38-27 and had the ball. The Knights couldn’t convert and Weber hit his second three pointer of the quarter to make it 38-30. The Knights build the lead back to 10 points on a bucket from Winget and then with 4:27 to go, Logan Irwin picked up his fourth foul and things were looking bleak for the Wildcats. Without Irwin the Knights built the lead to 44-32 behind two Blair buckets. Whitko picked at the lead with some free throws and Kolten Krull hit before the buzzer and Southwood led 46-38 with a quarter to go.
Whitko would start the fourth quarter, going on an 8-0 run to wipe out the Southwood lead in less than two minutes. Stoddard hit and then after being held scoreless in the third quarter, Irwin drained a three, followed by another Stoddard bucket and Weber’s third three of the game to lead 48-46. After Levi Sutton tied it with two free throws the lead would change three times with Whitko taking the final lead at 52-51 with 3:27 to go. Behind Stoddard and Irwin the Wildcats built the lead to 55-51 with 1:24 to go when Jackson Blair hit. Down two the Knights forced an over and back call, but couldn’t convert on the offensive end and Irwin made them pay with another bucket with 29.5 seconds remaining and a 57-53 lead. Again the Knights couldn’t convert and Wildcat Gabe Powell broke loose for a bucket. Blair quickly drained a three and it was 59-56 with 10.1 left and Southwood fouling. Irwin would hit one free throw and the Knights raced down the court with Blair connecting on another three, but ran out of time and Whitko held on for the 60-59 win.
Jackson Blair led the Knights with 24 points. Connor Hobbs had 12, Levi Winget 11, Sexton Boggs 5, Levi Sutton 3, Corey Phillipy 2 and Ross Phillipy 2.
Hobbs led with 9 rebounds, Winget had 7. Hobbs had 5 assist and Sutton 4. Winget had 2 steals.
Logan Irwin, the states leading scorer at 31.2ppg was held to 19.