CRYSTAL LAKE – As the seconds clicked off the clock at Crystal Lake Central’s Fieldhouse, Woodstock’s Jordan Turner patiently dribbled and pictured in his mind what he wanted to do.
“I knew when I came off the pick I was going to give him a head fake,” Turner said. “I got my shot blocked earlier on a play like that, so that time I gave him a head fake and squared up.”
Turner elevated from the left wing and buried a 16-foot jump shot with 5 seconds remaining to give the Blue Streaks a 54-53 lead. On the Tigers’ last possession, Turner stole the ball in a double team on Central’s Corban Murphy to seal the Fox Valley Conference Fox Division showdown between the division co-leaders.
Woodstock (13-4 overall, 3-0 FVC Fox) celebrated with its fans after winning for the 12th time in 13 games. The Blue Streaks pulled it off after seeing nine-point, third-quarter lead slip away and rallying from four points down with 55 seconds remaining.
“It was a perfect storm,” Turner said. “We couldn’t have scripted that end any better.”
Central (14-2, 2-1) led 53-49 with 55 seconds remaining when Corban Murphy hit a free throw. Streaks guard Brad Kaufmann nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing with 45 seconds remaining, then Woodstock blocked two Central shots.
Guard Andy Buhrow blocked Jake Vanscoyoc’s shot near the basket, then 6-foot-7 Damian Stoneking blocked Cavanagh Murphy’s attempt on the rebound. Turner corralled the ball and Woodstock played for the last shot.
Turner did not let the ball out of his hands until he shot. Mason Sutter set a screen at the free-throw line and Murphy, who had been guarding Turner, left him for D.J. Thomas on the switch. Turner gave Thomas the fake, then stepped back and rose for his game-winning shot.
“I thought I was going to go deaf when Jordan hit that shot,” said Stoneking, who had eight points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. “[The atmosphere] was awesome. I love our fans for coming out like that.”
Several minutes after the game, players were still hanging around the gym to savor the moment with their fans.
“It’s huge,” Turner said. “The last time we’ve been at this level was a long time ago. It’s fun to be back up there.”
Kaufmann led the Streaks, who are now alone in first place, with 13 points.
“It was a fun experience for the boys,” Streaks coach Alex Baker said. “It was exciting to compete against a great team like Central. Now, we have to get back to work and get ready for Grayslake North.”
Central was missing two starters – 6-6 forward David Panicko (flu) and point guard Brad Knoeppel (strep throat) – but still managed to battle back from a 44-35 deficit in the third quarter with a 17-3 run. The Tigers hit their first seven shots in the fourth quarter and led, 52-47, with 3:49 remaining.
Corban Murphy led all players with 21 points, and his sophomore brother Cavanagh added 10.
“We did everything we needed to do to win the game except for the last couple possessions,” Tigers coach Rich Czeslawski said. “You have to tip your cap to them for making the plays they needed to make.”
Central’s 6-7 Kyle Fleck scored 11 points, but he sat almost 9 minutes of the second half with four fouls.
“That third quarter was a tough situation for us. We had a lot of guys playing out of position,” Czeslawski said. “I thought we’d make better decisions down the stretch. [Woodstock] did a great job and took advantage of their chances.”