Down three with little time on the clock, that’s a situation on which the Archbishop Wood High basketball team works every day in practice.
“Usually,” junior guard Rahsool Diggins noted with a smile, “there’s two seconds on the clock, not 1.3.”
No matter. Junior guard Jaylen Stinson sneaked into the far corner, received the inbounds pass, took a dribble and unleashed a three-pointer that stabbed the bottom of the net as the buzzer sounded at the end of first overtime.
Stinson’s jumper was the biggest play in a game overflowing with big plays, propelling Archbishop Wood to a 94-93 victory over Roman Catholic in a Philadelphia Catholic League double-overtime classic Sunday in the Vikings’ Richard Kelly Gymnasium.
“Typical Sunday afternoon Catholic League game,” Archbishop Wood coach John Mosco said after the Vikings won their 11th in a row.
Diggins scored 28 points and Stinson added 25, including 11 after regulation, for Archbishop Wood (13-3, 8-0 in the league), the No. 3 team in the Inquirer Top 10 rankings.
Junior swingman Daeshon Shepherd scored 24 for Archbishop Wood, which visits top-ranked Neumann-Goretti (13-2, 7-0) on Friday night in a clash of teams still unbeaten in league play.
“That will be another easy one,” Mosco said.
Sophomore center Jalen Duren generated 34 points with 16 rebounds, and sophomore guard Justice Williams added 32 points for No. 4 Roman Catholic (8-7, 4-3).
Roman Catholic’s three league losses have all been in overtime, including double-overtime setbacks in the span of 42 hours on Friday night and Sunday afternoon to Neumann-Goretti and Archbishop Wood, respectively.
“Life is hard,” Roman Catholic coach Matt Griffin said. “My big thing is, ‘How do you respond?’ We have to learn from this. We have to find out how to win games. We haven’t figured it out yet.”
The pulse-pounding game, played before a capacity-plus crowd, was reminiscent of Wood’s seven-overtime loss to nationally-ranked Paul VI of Fairfax, Va., on the same floor on Dec. 14.
“We didn’t want it to be like that game,” Stinson said, “Once we got to the second [OT], we were like, ‘Yo, we’ve got to finish this.'”
The 6-foot-9 Duren was dominant in the paint. He scored 21 points in the first half, forcing several Archbishop Wood defenders into foul trouble.
“He’s big trouble,” Diggins said of Duren.
The springy Williams scored 11 points after regulation, twice giving Roman Catholic a four-point lead in the first overtime and pushing the Cahillites into their last lead at 93-92 with a driving dunk at the 0:37 mark.
“His best game of the season,” Griffin said of Williams.
Stinson was clutch down the stretch for Wood. His steal and two free throws with nine seconds left in regulation forced the first overtime.
He scored the Vikings’ final seven points of the first overtime, and their last four of the second overtime with a pair of free throws at the 0:59 mark and a short jumper for the winning points at the 0:28 mark.
“He’s a warrior,” Mosco said of Stinson.
But the second overtime doesn’t happen if not for Stinson’s remarkable three-pointer. He actually was the third option, coming out of a timeout with 0:01.3 showing on the clock.
But he cut to the corner and took the inbounds pass from Marcus Randolph. He took one dribble, releasing the basketball on a pull-up to his left.
The buzzer sounded with the basketball in the air.
“People on the sideline were telling me it’s time to go,” Stinson said. “My dad specifically. He’s always in my head in moments like this. I was built for this, basically.”
Roman Catholic 18 16 21 19 11 8 – 93
Archbishop Wood 18 27 21 8 11 9 – 94
RC: Lynn Greeer 16, Justice Williams 32, Jalen Duren 34, Xzayvier Brown 8, Nasir Lett 3.