David Cobb missed two huge free throws in the fourth quarter, but his acrobatic layup with two seconds left hit the mark, giving Ellison a 59-57 win over Shoemaker on Friday.
The Eagles' senior post hit 2-of-4 from the free-throw line in the final 1:18 with Ellison holding a slim 55-54 lead, but Devante Brown, facing a Shoemaker trap at halfcourt, found him at the free throw line in the waning seconds. Cobb attacked the lane, spun and threw up the shot with his back facing the rim and the ball rattled in, giving the Eagles' their third straight win.
We have great players in Devonte Brown and Jaleel (Williams), the defense has to worry about so much, Cobb said. ... I definitely felt like I had to make up for those two or three big free throws I missed that could've put us in the lead. My teammate made a great pass to me in the middle, I just finished it at the goal.
Brown scored six of his game-high 23 points in the first 4½ minutes of the fourth quarter and led the Eagles (14-9, 4-1 12-5A) to a 7-point lead with 3:29 left. But behind 10 fourth-quarter points by A.J. McDonald, the Grey Wolves rallied.
McDonald scored six in the final 2:17, including a three-point play with 1:08 left that gave Shoemaker a 57-56 lead. Cobb hit 1-of-2 from the line that tied the game with 40 seconds left and Williams blocked Jose Roman's layup at the other end, giving the Eagles the ball back with 14 seconds left.
I knew they were going to trap Devonte, so we wanted Dave in the middle, because Dave makes plays, and Jaleel in the corner because he can shoot it Ellison coach Alberto Jones said of the final play. We put them in position, but they made the plays.
Williams, who averaged almost 27 points in the Eagles' last two games, scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
McDonald scored a team-high 21 points for Shoemaker (12-8, 3-2). Malcolm McDonald had 15 rebounds and 14 points and Anthony Gonzales scored 11.
I thought we had two or three or four turnovers late that got them back in it and they hit a couple big shots, Ellison coach Alberto Jones said. I didn't want it to come down to it, but they showed a little fight. Once we went down one, they came right back at (Shoemaker).
Shoemaker's rally wasn't limited to just the fourth quarter.
The Grey Wolves trailed by eight in the first quarter, but the cut Ellison's lead to one after a pair of A.J. McDonald free throws with 1:01 left. McDonald's' trey 15 seconds before halftime capped Shoemaker's second-quarter rally, this one coming back from a 6-point deficit, to tie the game at 29 just before intermission.
The Eagles led by as many as eight in the third but that was cut to 45-40 after Gonzales' 3 with 43 seconds left in the period.
Win or lose, I think you show up the next day and you just work hard and keep working, Shoemaker assistant coach Emund Prichett said. You're going to win some, you're going to lose some, the best thing I can say is you've got to learn from your mistakes and try to keep driving on. I think we will.
After McDonald's jumper 39 seconds into the fourth quarter cut Ellison's lead to 45-42, Ellison scored 10 of the next 16 points, including 6-of-8 from the free-throw line, to take a 55-48 lead with 2:51 left. Out of a timeout, Shoemaker scored six unanswered to trim the Eagles' lead to one with 1:25 left. The Grey Wolves hit just 2-of-4 from the free-throw line in the final 2:45 and 11-of-21 in the game.
That comes back to the focus. If you're not focused on the game, free throws are usually where it shows, Prichett said. It showed tonight, we weren't as focussed as we should've been ... I think that was the difference in the game.
Cobb's free throw with 1:18 left broke Ellison's 2-plus minute scoreless drought and gave Ellison a two-point lead. McDonald's 3-point play at the other end capped Shoemaker's final rally. But Cobb, who scored Ellison's final four points, wasn't done.
Really, we felt like we got sloppy towards the end, gave up a 7-point lead, but it's definitely good to get a close game because you know your teammates will fight all the way to the end, Cobb said. So, it's good as a learning experience, but all together, we don't want to have those games.