High school basketball: Clutch steals propel Woods Cross
OGDEN — Knocking down 10 3-pointers in a play-in game last Saturday was actually the worst thing that could've happened to Woods Cross — outside of the fact it helped the Wildcats actually qualify for the 4A state tournament.
Woods Cross arrived at the Dee Events Center Tuesday morning confident it could replicate the shooting performance in its first-round game against Snow Canyon — which it certainly did not.
The Wildcats only made 1 of 16 3-pointers but still managed to escape with the 38-35 victory with some clutch steals in the waning seconds.
"I think we got full of ourselves that last game," said Woods Cross coach Todd Street. "We hit 10 3-pointers in our game Saturday, and we came into a big gym like this and it's not also easy to hit those shots."
Woods Cross finished the game shooting 35 percent — but Snow Canyon couldn't get anything to go down, either, shooting 29 percent.
"It's one of those games, both teams played their hearts out, both teams couldn't put the ball in the basket. The officials let a lot of stuff go so it was a very physical game," said Street.
Snow Canyon in particular couldn't get anything to drop down the stretch. Leading 33-26 with 37 seconds remaining in the third, the Warriors went scoreless for nearly seven minutes until Ben Gottfredson converted a layup with 1:45 remaining in the game to cut Woods Cross' lead to 36-35.
With the lead, Woods Cross was content to try and run out the clock, and it successfully wasted nearly 90 seconds before Snow Canyon's Austin Ovard stole the ball at midcourt. He missed his layup but was fouled in the process.
Ovard missed both free throws, but Snow Canyon caught a break when Woods Cross tipped the ball out of bounds.
During a timeout, Street prepared his team on what to expect, which is exactly what happened. Austin Bankowski was right there to steal a cross-court pass with 8.6 seconds remaining, and he was quickly fouled. He knocked down both free throws to extend the lead to 38-35.
"He struggled offensively big time throughout the game but he came up clutch at the free throw line and he stretches it out to a three-point lead," said Street. "He's been clutch for us all year in those situations."
Snow Canyon called another timeout to set up a potential game-tying shot, which actually played right into the Wildcats' hands.
"I showed them what I thought they might do from the side out of bounds play from what they've done on film and they came out and did it," said Street.
With a foul to give, Ryan Anderson attacked the inbounds pass aggressively and stole the ball at midcourt. He missed his contested layup, but time expired as the ball rolled off the rim.
"Proud of the kids that last couple possessions, one shot goes in and the game's over, and we had two steals there at the end," said Street. "The kids stuck with what we've done all year and we scouted out a lot of things and they happened to do some of the things we'd seen on film, and the kids jumped on them and were able to get some steals."
Ironically enough, all of the scouting was off film that Street's daughter who lives in St. George was able to obtain and overnight express mail to her father.
Anderson led Woods Cross with 14 points and three steals in the victory, while Bankowski added 15 rebounds and seven points.