Damian Stoneking injured, Woodstock falls to Grant at Marengo
MARENGO – Damian Stoneking sat on the Woodstock bench Friday night with his ankle elevated on a chair and heavily wrapped in ice.
Mason Sutter's foot wasn't in much better shape.
But the junior forward, along with the rest of his teammates, wasn't about to allow a bit of health-related adversity stand in their way of reaching the championship game of the 64th annual E.C Nichols boys basketball tournament.
Time – along with a roadblock in the form of talented Grant – proved to be too much to overcome.
Sutter scored a team-high 22 points, but a strong fourth quarter push by Grant proved to be the difference in a 67-59 victory that propelled the Bulldogs into Saturday night's tournament championship game against Richmond-Burton.
Woodstock (5-7) will try to bounce back in the 6 p.m. Nichols consolation game against Marengo.
But Friday night's loss had no shortage of effort.
"We knew [Grant] was going to pressure us, we knew we had to have high intensity and we just tried to keep that up the whole game," Sutter said. "But we were running out of time and they closed well."
The Blue Streaks, who were also without Nick Kubiak, played much of the night without Stoneking, who turned his ankle with 2:32 remaining in the second quarter. Stoneking scored eight points early but was unable to put weight on his foot after the injury and came out of the locker room after halftime on crunches. Woodstock coach Al Baker isn't certain how serious the injury is.
Sparked by Sutter and Mitch Kohley (11 points) and Marcus Ammirati (8 points), though, the Streaks entered the fourth quarter tied at 46. But Grant – which got a game-high 24 points from Ryan Noda – outscored Woodstock 21-13 in the final eight minutes, handing the Streaks their first loss of the tournament.
"I don't remember when I've been as proud of a team for a single 32-minute effort as I was tonight," Baker said. "Every guy who was asked to step up absolutely met the challenge."