Jordan Wilson and his Windward teammates saw National Division opponent Archbishop Mitty battle back from down 16 and take a three-point lead in the waning moments of Wednesday’s nightcap at Torrey Pines.
Someone needed to take over, and that someone was Wilson. His banked-in 3-pointer just before the regulation buzzer forced an overtime in which the Wildcat guard dominated, and Windward won 73-71.
“Just get it up,” Wilson said was his goal in taking the ensuing possession after Archbishop Mitty pulled ahead by three points on two Thomas Peters free throws, 64-61.
“I felt like I could hit the shot, so I put it up, and it just went in.”
That confidence was exuded throughout the extra frame.
Wilson penetrated to the goal with reckless abandon, daring Archbishop Mitty defenders to stop him. None could. He scored on three consecutive drives that proved to be the difference in a back-and-forth contest that had tournament attendees buzzing.
“They were a little vulnerable on defense,” Wilson said. “They’re a great team. They fought hard to come back, but I just felt like I could take over.”
Wilson went off for 20 points. The dynamic backcourt of he and Charles Dawson stepped up with freshman forward Mason Shepherd spending much of the night on the bench in foul trouble. Dawson scored 13 points.
Handling much of the inside duty for Windward was Nicolas Stover, who played inspired basketball all night to lay the Wildcats’ foundation. He finished with a game high 23 points, often attacking Mitty’s celebrated junior forward Aaron Gordon off the dribble.
“I know him personally, ‘cause my brother and his brother went to school together and we’re good friends,” Stover said. “It’s great to play against somebody you know, and a great player like him.
“I was excited to be out there.”
Gordon gave the Wildcats all they could handle. The big man’s scoring ability was on full display, but he also exhibited his knack for setting up teammates. He was just shy of a triple-double: 20 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists.
Among the beneficiaries of Gordon’s ball distribution was Peters. The Monarch forward scored 17 points including several clutch baskets down the stretch.
Ultimately though, Windward was able to find more of those clutch points in the overtime. A victory moves the Wildcats in Thursday’s semifinal. They will face Los Angeles-area powerhouse Taft in a game with some early season, Southern California bragging rights at stake.
Drawing such elite competition is an exciting proposition for Windward, Stover said.
“This is a big tournament. It lets us know we can be out there [on the court] with great teams and compete,” he said.