Springfield stuns Woodridge boys basketball in overtime

Roger Gordon
Correspondent
Woodridge's Josh Decker puts up a three-pointer during the Bulldogs' 53-52 overtime loss at Springfield Tuesday.

Heartbreaking is the only way to describe the Woodridge boys basketball team’s 53-52 overtime loss Jan. 5 at Metro Athletic Conference rival Springfield.

In fact, it was a double dose of heartbreaking for the Bulldogs, who fell to 3-2 on the season.

“We had a big lead after the first quarter, but then just kind of fumbled it away. It was kind of death by a thousand cuts,” Woodridge head coach Ric Blevins said. “Springfield just kept cutting into the lead, cutting into the lead, and then they took their first lead in the fourth quarter.”

Woodridge was up by three points with four seconds left in regulation when disaster struck.

“Somehow a Springfield kid got open and shot a desperation 30-footer into the bottom of the net at the buzzer to force overtime,” said Blevins.

“In overtime, we had some bad offensive possessions, but we battled and were never more than one point down. James Werts, our senior small forward, hit two big free throws with about 15 seconds left to give us a one-point lead.”

Then disaster No. 2 happened.

“On Springfield’s next possession we defended really well,” Blevins said. “The shot they took was not a good one. It was partially deflected by our guy, and we stood around and watched the ball. A Springfield player jumped in, grabbed the rebound and laid the ball in at the buzzer.”

According to the coach, his team did not play with enough urgency.

“I really felt like we kind of went through the motions at times,” he said. “We’ve got to play harder than that, and I think my guys understand that. We talk about it constantly, but we’ve got to put it in action.

"You can nod your head in agreement all you want, but our actions speak a little different story. We’re definitely struggling to find our identity. I think I need to do a better job as coach and I think my guys need to play harder, and that’s on me. It’s my job to fix it.”

Despite the tough defeat, senior shooting guard Josh Decker had a good game for Woodridge.

“Josh shot the ball really well for us,” said Blevins. “He made some big shots early in the game that gave us a big lead. He had a big and-one at the end of the fourth quarter, but unfortunately it just wasn’t enough.”

Two other players who played decently were small forward Evan Duve and senior guard Isaiah Mitchell.

“It was the second game in a row that Evan has done a lot of things that don’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet,” Blevins said. “He plays really hard, and he’s just a freshman … he’s starting to figure some things out. He’s a guy who does a lot of good things when he’s on the floor even if it doesn’t involve scoring the ball.

“Isaiah gave us a big lift off the bench early in the game. He just played some really good minutes for us. He’s another guy who probably doesn’t play as much as he’d like to, but he’s starting to do something with the minutes he gets, so that’s going to mean more minutes in the future.”

Woodridge was scheduled to play at MAC rival Norton Friday at 7 p.m.