When you can play defense and pound the ball inside with good results like South Charleston, you're never really out of a game.
After Saturday night, Woodrow Wilson would likely agree.
Trevond Reese and A.D. Cunningham ruled the low post, Ot Elmore hit three clutch shots down the stretch and SC rallied for a thrilling 71-68 victory over the Flying Eagles during the boys title game at the MSAC Night of Champions at the South Charleston Community Center.
The top-ranked Black Eagles (18-3) trailed by as many as 14 points at the midway mark of the third quarter and were still down six with about four minutes left.
"How can you single somebody out?'' asked SC coach Vic Herbert. "We all played great tonight.''
After Woodrow tied the game at 67 on a three-point play by Cameron Shannon at the 21-second mark, SC's Elmore took a pass near the left side of the foul lane and hit a leaping bank shot with nine seconds remaining for a 69-67 lead.
The Flying Eagles took a timeout with 6.1 seconds to go and Shannon was able to draw a blocking foul on Reese in the lane with 2.2 seconds left - Reese's fifth personal. Shannon's shot danced tantalizingly on the rim - setting up a possible three-point play for the win - but came out, giving him two shots at the line instead.
Shannon made the first free throw, but missed the second and the lead remained at one. Kevin Williams rebounded for SC, was fouled and made both free throws to set the final score.
The heroes were many for South Charleston.
Reese made six straight shots under the basket in the third quarter and wound up with 20 points and seven rebounds. Cunningham came off the bench to sink 7-of-9 shots for 14 points and grabbed six rebounds.
"They were taller than us, but I think we were a little stronger,'' Herbert said. "Reese gets 12 points in the third quarter just bullying people. He's so strong in his upper body and gets his chest toward the hoop and just gets it up in there.''
Elmore wound up with 15 points and came in hot after sitting out the entire third quarter and the first part of the fourth as Woodrow worked its lead as high as 47-33, that coming midway into the third period.
With 3:39 left, Elmore drained a 3 from the left wing to make it 62-61, then added a turnaround shot in the lane with 58 seconds to go to bump the lead up to 67-64. Then he added his game-winner in the final 10 seconds.
"I practice all the time, and I'm used to coming in and knocking them down,'' Elmore said. "I was just looking to score the ball. I know my team wants me to score sometimes, and I was just trying to hit the game-winner and I was fortunate enough to do it.''