Extra, extra: Lobos fall to Woodrow Wilson in double overtime thriller
CARROLLTON -- Four quarters weren't enough for Little Elm and Woodrow Wilson to determine a winner in Friday's Class 4A area battle at Carrollton R.L. Turner.
In fact, the two teams needed a pair of overtimes to settle the showdown, with Wilson prevailing for a 74-71 victory after a buzzer-beating 3-point attempt by Little Elm senior point guard Devante' Pullum fell just short of sending the game into a third extra period.
"It's just disappointing because we played so hard," said Rusty Segler, Little Elm head coach. "The kids played their hearts out tonight."
Pullum began the second overtime with a pair of free throws to give Little Elm a 68-66 advantage with 3:12 on the clock. The Lobos then took a two-possession lead after senior guard Jalen Bridges converted a layup in traffic for a 70-66 lead with 1:50 remaining.
However, the Wildcats answered back with an old-fashioned three-point play by senior forward Zachary Coleman to get within one point. Wilson recaptured the lead on its ensuing possession when Dennis Shouse made the first of two free throws, only to have senior guard Chance Houston grab an offensive rebound on the second attempt and score an uncontested layup for a 72-70 lead.
"Nobody was too tired," Segler said. "We didn't lose because we weren't trying hard enough."
Little Elm had a pair of chances to even the score at the other end when Pullum and junior forward Cardell Best each earned a trip to the charity stripe within a two-second time frame. The duo managed to sink just one of the four attempts and trimmed the deficit to 72-71 with 24.6 seconds left.
Wilson then left the door open on consecutive possessions when Shouse and sophomore guard Craig Martin each went 1-of-2 at the line.
However, after sprinting up the floor with just 5.6 seconds remaining, Pullum's desperation 3-pointer fell inches short of knotting the game and put Wilson into a regional quarterfinals matchup against West Mesquite.
"[Wilson] is a pretty darn good team," Segler said. "They played their hearts out too."
The game, however thrilling, wasn't without its share of controversial calls.
After Pullum, who scored a game-high 34 points, missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with the game tied and 4.4 seconds to go in the fourth, Best grabbed an offensive rebound and made what appeared to be the game-winning layup before an inadvertent whistle negated the bucket and gave Little Elm possession under the goal with 2.7 seconds left.
"[The ref] was right to call it that way after he blew the whistle," Segler said.
The Lobos drew up a play for the 6-foot-5 Joseph. The senior caught the ball near the baseline and put up a shot with heavy contact that missed iron and sent the game into its first overtime.
"They fouled [Joseph] on the arm," Segler said. "It was clear, but the refs don't want to make that call in that situation."
Joseph scored 13 points to become one of three Lobos in double figures, with senior post Shaun Grant adding 10. Pullum scored 14 in a second quarter that gave Little Elm a 32-26 lead heading into the locker room.
"I've had [Pullum] for three years now," Segler said. "When he gets that look in his eye, we ride on his back. I'll go to war with that kid any day."
Thomas Washington led Wilson with 19 points. Houston and Shouse added 16 and 13, respectively.
The loss drops Little Elm's final record to 24-8 and ends the hopes the Lobos and their six seniors had of making a final run to state. Segler, who spent 13 years at A&M Consolidated before coming to Little Elm, said the group has left an indelible mark on the program that should bring future success.
"I left a place that I loved to come and coach these guys and I don't regret a second of it," he said. "I love these kids like sons."