CHANNAHON – Of Plainfield South’s six varsity boys basketball wins this season, three have had the same ending – a game-winning Shane Ritter 3-pointer from the left corner.
Ritter played hero again Friday night, and spoiled a spirited Minooka comeback in the process.
The Indians, who had trailed by as many as 12 points, seemed to have their second Southwest Prairie Conference victory in hand until Ritter stole a 49-48 victory for South.
Delvin Harris set up Ritter’s shot by rebounding the second of two missed Minooka free throws with five seconds left.
“I gotta give it to my teammates. If they didn’t get that rebound,” Ritter said. “I was struggling all game, too. ... That last shot felt really good. It was a great feeling.”
A 22-20 South lead at halftime grew to 35-23 halfway through the third quarter as the Cougars scored on six consecutive possessions. After Minooka had gotten the lead down to 10 points, one of its top players, Jake Smith, was injured and did not return.
The Indians reduced their deficit to 39-32 by the end of the quarter and scored the first 10 points in the fourth, taking the lead on an Adam Alexander putback of his own miss with 4:20 to play. South finally ended its skid on a Ritter putback with 3:45 to play.
After some back-and-forth play, Corey Evers scored on a fast-break layup to give South a 46-45 edge with 1:41 to go, but an Alexander drive and score 12 seconds later sent it back to Minooka. There it remained, though the Indians only added one insurance point to it on four free-throw attempts, until Ritter’s 3.
“We definitely worked hard and we were working hard to get ready for this game,” Alexander said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t pull it out for our good teammate Smitty. We tried to get it for him.”
Three South players – Miles Snowden, Tyler Smith and Evers – fouled out, and foul trouble was a problem for the Cougars throughout the second half.
“We were plus-one in rebounds in the first half,” South coach Tim Boe said. “With [Snowden] being in foul trouble, we ended up being 18 to 29, we lost that battle by 11. We said we gotta out-rebound these guys. They average 29 a game, we average 24. ... I give credit to Minooka. They battled.”
South (6-8, 3-1) landed three players in double figures. Evers led the way with 13 points, with Snowden getting 12 and Calvin Brooks 10. Alexander led all players with 16 points, and Smith scored seven for Minooka (5-9, 1-3).