Woodmore's Tyler Rosenberger holds onto the ball despite heavy defensive pressure from Elmwood's Brian Barndt.
BLOOMDALE - Elmwood sophomore Dustin Reynolds starts every school day in the gym taking at least 250 shots as his father and Royals coach Doug Reynolds serves as his rebounder.
That daily commitment paid huge dividends last night as father and son posted one of the biggest wins in Royals basketball history with a stunning 55-52 upset of Woodmore in overtime.
Dustin knocked down five of six free-throw attempts in overtime as his team outscored Woodmore 13-10 to post the dramatic win in a raucous gym filled with about 1,700 fans.
The victory pulls Elmwood into a first-place tie in the Suburban Lakes League with the Wildcats, who came into the game with sole possession of first place. Both teams are 11-2 in league play. To stay atop the standings, the Royals must defeat Gibsonburg (9-4) on the road next Friday, while Woodmore hosts Lakota (1-12).
Elmwood (14-5) has not won an SLL title in 29 years. Woodmore (17-2) has won three straight SLL titles.
"This is a huge win," said Reynolds, who finished with 22 points and nine rebounds. "It puts us right there."
Reynolds gave his team a four-point lead with two free throws just over a minute into overtime. Then with 33 seconds left he converted on two more to put the Royals up 53-49.
Eric Wansitler rises for two of his 12 points as Elmwood knocks off Woodmore. The teams are tied for the SLL lead.
But Woodmore star Tyler Rosenberger responded with a long 3-pointer to pull within a point with 10 seconds left. Elmwood's Al Tyson then hit one of two from the charity stripe. With 9.9 seconds remaining, Rosenberger took an inbounds pass at midcourt, but never had control of it. He drove up the left side of lane, lost the handle and the ball went out of bounds with 3.8 seconds left.
Reynolds was intentionally fouled and nailed one of two free throws for a three-point cushion. Woodmore then could not get off the potential game-tying trey.
"Every morning Justin shoots jump shots for a half-hour and then he finishes with free throws," said Doug Reynolds. "He prides himself on that. The kids were saying get him the basketball at the end. He had confidence and he just stepped up. He played a great game."
Reynolds scored two buckets over the first three minutes of the fourth quarter to give the Royals 40-33 lead.
"I come in every morning at about 7 o'clock and shoot until school starts," Reynolds said. "I never leave the gym unless I make 12 free throws in a row. I'm always out here practicing that free throw form. I'm late a lot, but my phys ed teacher, Mr. Lee, he lets me get by."
Reynolds was matched nearly step-for-step by Rosenberger who poured in a game-high 24 points. More pressure was put on the senior when Woodmore lost Joe Nowak, its third-leading scorer, to a broken foot late in the second quarter.
With Woodmore facing its biggest deficit of the game, Rosenberger scored five points over the final five minutes of regulation. His driving lay up with
1:20 gave the Wildcats a two-point lead.
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