Ryan Sturdivan had only one request after sinking a 45-foot shot at the buzzer to give Woodland a 49-47 boys basketball win at Kelso Monday night.
“Please don’t make it sound like I did it all myself,” the Beavers senior guard said. “My teammates played great defense, they got me the ball in spots where I like to shoot... none of us gave up when it looked bad. All I did was make a lucky shot.”
Actually, he hit two from several yards behind the arc — the first to draw Woodland within 19-18 at halftime. The second, slightly the longer of the pair, turned a 47-46 Kelso lead into a loss in true thunderbolt fashion.
“I probably make those shots about two percent of the time,” Sturdivan said. “And that’s on a good day. You don’t really practice them, unless you’re playing ‘Horse,’ or think about them too much. If the ball winds up in your hands at the end of a close game, you just hope you can make one.”
Sturdivan, who led all scorers with 24 points, drained both of his long shots from directly in front of the Beavers’ bench, giving coach Jason Buffum a perfect view. On the second, Sturdivan was closely defended by Kelso’s Mike Pierce.
“If we’re in that position, we do want Ryan taking the shot,” Buffum said. “You just don’t want to be in that position.”
Both teams entered the game unbeaten, but only Woodland (5-0) stayed that way. Kelso, which held the lead for most of the game and was ahead 42-33 early in the fourth period, dropped to 5-1.
“It’s incredibly tough,” said Kelso coach Joe Kinch of Sturdivan’s winning shot. “We defended it like you want to defend it. There were plenty of plays to be made before then that we needed to make,”
Indeed, Kelso appeared to be home free with only 4.2 seconds remaining and Woodland inbounding while trailing by one. The Scotties’ Xavier Parker-Mendez stole the ball in the frontcourt and was fouled intentionally -- giving him two shots and Kelso the ball after he’d finished at the line.
Parker-Mendez, however, missed his free throws and Nate Solomon failed on the front end of a one-and-one with 2.7 seconds to go. Woodland rebounded and called timeout with 1.6 seconds to play.
“That’s not a lot of time,” Buffum said, “but I actually think Ryan had time to take a dribble and get a little closer on that last shot.
“We made mistakes and did a lot to make winning the game harder, but we kept ourselves in position to make something happen at the end. You throw up a lot of ‘Hail Marys’ in this game — and sometimes you hit one.”
Sturdivan had nine fourth-quarter points for Woodland, which used its height advantage to claim 36 rebounds to Kelso’s 21.
The Hilanders were led by Blake Hampton with 14 points and Solomon, who finished with 11 points and 5 rebounds.
Beavers 49, Hilanders 47
WOODLAND (49) — Bryce Mulder 4, Tanner Froeber 2, Ryan Sturdivan 24, Jake Rosenbalm 6, Tanner Sixberry 4, Dillan Bonamigo-Wear 2, Troy Flanagan 7.
KELSO (47) — Mike Pierce 8, Blake Hampton 14, Xavier Parker-Mendez 4, Nate Solomon 11, Jared Bowlby 2, Hunter Hartley 0, Zak Schueller 2, Quentin McDaniel 5, Zach Groves 1.
Woodland 8 10 13 15 — 49
Kelso 11 8 15 13 — 47