By CHIP CIRILLO | Photos by STEVE WHEELER
When a player swishes a 74-foot Hail Mary at the end of regulation, they might start thinking they can make any shot.
Ravenwood’s Elon Smallwood had that confident look in his eye as the Battle of the Woods stretched into overtime.
His Hail Mary with .3 second left was waved off because he didn’t get it off in time.
The Raptors were hit with a technical foul after the student section stormed the court in celebration, but Ravenwood kept the momentum.
Smallwood struck again when his 17-foot jumper from the right side with 2.7 seconds left in double OT gave Ravenwood a stunning 65-63 win over visiting Brentwood in front of a capacity crowd on Friday night.
It marked the second time in four days the state’s 10th-ranked Class AAA team lost after surrendering a double-digit lead.
“Coach told me to take it to the rack. I just had to pull up and make the shot,” Smalllwood said. “(The Hail Mary) was just a lucky shot. There wasn’t much time left on the clock, I was just trying to get a shot off.”
Smallwood led the Raptors (17-4, 5-4 District 11-AAA) with 24 points, including three 3-pointers.
“I’m speechless right now, but it’s great to get a win on our home court,” said Smallwood, a 6-foot-3 senior guard who has offers from Columbia State and Martin Methodist. “Coach told me I was hot and I was just trying to knock it down and get the win. The key was defense. They’re a lot bigger than us, we had to get some stops and box out and capitalize off those turnovers.”
Brentwood (18-5, 5-3) led by 11 points with 3:17 left in regulation before Ravenwood closed with a 14-3 run.
Brennan Mickelson’s 3-pointer from the left corner tied the game at 54 with 12 seconds left, sending it into overtime.
Smallwood’s 3-pointer with two minutes left in the first OT tied the game at 60, sending the game into double OT.
“So much emotion going back and forth,” Raptors coach Patrick Whitlock said. “So proud of my kids for staying the course and keeping themselves focused. It’s another classic effort by both schools. Two great teams battling it out.”
Ravenwood won its fourth straight, as Connor Tudeen added 14 points and Mickelson scored 10.
“Elon is a big-time player and we knew he’d hit big-time shots, and once he got it going there was no doubt where we were going on those last possessions,” Whitlock said. “And yeah, we were definitely going to him. Everybody in the building knew it was going to him.”
It was déjà vu for the Bruins, who lost a last-second game to Summit on Tuesday after a 16-point fourth-quarter lead evaporated.
“This will probably go down as one of the great Brentwood-Ravenwood games,” Bruins coach Greg Shirley said. “Ravenwood hasn’t lost one game outside the district. This is tough, but character is built in the face of adversity.”
Reed Smith led Brentwood with 25 points, Kellen King added 18 and David Windley scored 10.
Ravenwood made 12 3-pointers, including four by Tudeen.
Brentwood made its first eight shots from the floor in the first half.
“When (Elon) gets going, he’s tough to stop,” said King, a 6-3 guard. “It’s easier to turn the momentum in a game like this when you get the crowd behind you. I think it’s the best high school rivalry I’ve ever seen, for sure. A lot better than some college rivalries. I know we’ll bounce back.”
Brentwood fell into a second-place tie with Franklin (13-7, 5-3) in the district behind Summit (18-2, 7-0). Ravenwood is in fourth, a half-game behind Brentwood and Franklin.
Brentwood visits Independence on Tuesday.
Ravenwood visits Dickson County on Tuesday.