Metea Valley wins wild one over Oswego East

Oswego East rallied from a 12-point deficit against Metea Valley on Wednesday before falling on a free throw with 2.6 seconds remaining, 60-59.

“We just came up on the short end,” Wolves coach Ryan Velasquez said. “I told the guys I liked the way we battled, but we’ve got to make sure we do the little things really well. We’ve got to be more consistent, learn from it and move forward.”

Metea Valley (4-4) got an earful from coach Isaiah Davis after ending the first quarter trailing 21-19. The Mustangs responded assuredly, taking a 32-25 lead at halftime.

The Mustangs then built their lead up to 41-29 after a Will Ashford free throw with 5:34 remaining in the third quarter.

Before picking up his fifth foul with 1:09 left in the game, Oswego East senior Jehvion Starwood (17 points) came up with eight points during a 12-0 run. It allowed the Wolves to draw even at 41-all with 2 minutes still remaining in the third quarter.

“Jehvion (Starwood) obviously got his (points) and he’s going to get his,” Ashford said. “Noah (Mason) had his a little bit. It’s just limiting the people. Once you limit (Starwood), you got to limit the other people because Jevhion’s going to get his no matter what.”

After five ties in the first quarter, Starwood’s three-pointer during the 12-point run was the first since then. They’d draw even once more at the very end.

Falling behind was solidified as the night’s theme for the Wolves, though, as they found themselves trailing 52-43 early in the fourth quarter.

And again, the Wolves (8-4) proved capable of answering quickly, responding with a 10-0 run to take a 53-52 lead on Drey Wisdom’s layup with 4:05 left. Their last lead had been 23-22.

Junior Torrin Ross provided a huge lift during the comeback, scoring six points.

“He gave us some spark off the bench,” Velasquez said. “I think in the second half is the only time he played. He had a nice little three for us and did some things offensively and was solid defensively. That’s what we need: contributors. I was really pleased with his effort tonight.”

Jake Nelson’s long three-pointer gave the Mustangs a 59-55 lead and Starwood would foul out half a minute later. Despite that reality and new challenge, the Wolves forced a couple turnovers and turned them into quick points, including the game-tying layup from Mason with 14.6 seconds left that made it 59-59.

James Parker was fouled in the final seconds, making the first free throw. Mason, who scored 14 points, managed a desperation heave after Parker missed the second.

“It was a huge win against a great team,” Nelson said. “We just played a great, fun, fast-paced game. In the past we’ve been on the flip side of those runs. We come out hot and then they go on the run. We knew we just had to control their runs. When they got a couple scores in a row we had to settle it down and make sure we got that next stop and build off of that.”

Ashford proved challenging to stop, leading the Mustangs with 23 points.

“It was fun, but it got close at the end there,” he said. “We knew we had to make some stops.”

The Mustangs snapped a two-game losing streak.

“We knew that we were way better than we were performing,” Nelson said. “We focused up as a team and talked it out and worked it out. This was another step in the right direction.”

Mason Lockett added 10 points for the Wolves who return to action on Saturday against Evergreen Park (8-2).

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