Inside of Ritenour’s cramped gym, about every possible thing that can happen in one minute of basketball happened … except scoring.
In junior Carte’Are Gordon’s first game back with the Statesmen after a 365-day transfer ineligibility period ended, Webster survived a harrowing last minute for a big 67-65 road win at Ritenour (13-5), who had a potential game-winning three called off in the final seconds.
The game had as many storylines as a game can have, as top-15 national prospect Gordon starred with 24 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. Junior Courtney Ramey, also nationally ranked in his class, put up a double-double of his own, including his 1000th career point, scored from the free throw line early in the second quarter. Ramey is the 16th to reach the milestone in program history.
It was the wild fourth quarter that had the place poppin,’ though. Webster, which never trailed, led 57-49 before five unanswered Ritenour points cut it to three and forced a Statesmen timeout from interim head coach Scott Stallcup with 6:41 left.
Webster answered by breaking a tight press and finding an open Gordon for a big dunk. Down 61-54, the Ritenour Huskies hit the first of several deep threes to get back within four. After going back and forth for a couple minutes, Ritenour hit an outrageous deep triple to bring the Statesmen lead to 65-64.
With 1:49 left, the Huskies hit one of two free throws to make it 67-65. It would be the last point of the game.
After high ball pressure forced Ramey to go over and back with a minute to play, Ritenour hit a floater to seemingly tie it up with 35 seconds left. The basket was waved off due to a Webster foul before the shot. Ritenour would miss the front end of a one-and-one.
At the other end, Ramey missed a front end of his own. Senior Kevin Butler pulled down a scrappy offensive rebound, but got tied up for a turnover with 20 seconds left as Stallcup shouted for a timeout to no avail.
Ritenour guard Robyion Hughes dribbled to the corner and hit an off-balance three well beyond the arc to evidently give the Huskies a 68-67 lead with 5.4 seconds remaining, their first of the game. In the frenzy that followed, the rowdy Ritenour faithful were quieted down as the points were removed from the scoreboard; Hughes had stepped on the line, going out of bounds before taking the shot.
Webster was awarded a sideline inbound, but with Stallcup’s screams again going ignored, a five-second call gave it back to Ritenour with 5.4 seconds still on the clock. Hughes got it up top but didn’t have a look at three. He instead took it to the basket around three defenders, but strong defense caused his contested layup, though not a bad look, to rim out as time expired.
The gritty win sets Webster up for another tough road matchup, this time at Danis Fieldhouse on Friday against bitter enemies SLUH. The Junior Bills have eliminated the Statesmen in the District championship back to back years, and defeated Webster again in December by one after two missed free throws in the final second.
With Blossom gone but Gordon back, this next chapter of the rivalry should be as unpredictable as past ones.
To read sports columnist Bennett Durando’s live Twitter coverage of the game visit Storify at https://storify.com/WGECHO/bennett-from-the-bleachers-5889ee686eacf2ee171ac088.
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