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Sometimes it’s the smallest guy on the court that ends up playing the hero in the biggest of situations.
Six-foot Jordan Johnson did just that as he hit the game winner for Waukegan with 7.1 seconds remaining to defeat St. Charles North 51-50 in the finals of the Ridgewood Shootout Sunday evening.
Johnson’s shot in the lane was part of an 8-0 run that the Bulldogs used to close the game. Johnson’s heroics would not have been possible if Tyler Williams did not come off the bench to hit two big three–pointers, in 17 seconds, from the right corner to bring Waukegan to within one. The North Stars had a shot to win the game, but Quinten Payne’s runner bounced off the rim as time expired.
“I’ve hit game winners before but I don’t know if any were like that,’’ said Johnson. “Most of mine are threes or jumpers so going to the basket was a little different, but huge.’’
After trailing 37-34 at the end of the third period, St. Charles North went on a 9-2 run to start the final quarter and take a 43-39 lead. It would extend the lead to 50-43 with over a minute and a half remaining, but then Williams and Johnson took over.
Like the third period, the North Stars also used a big run in the second to get back into the game. Waukegan (5-4) had built up a 15-7 lead after one, but was outscored 21-7 in the second, as the North Stars went on a 10-0 run in the middle of the period.
The Bulldogs used their quickness to get into the frontcourt with ease all night and it seemed to throw St. Charles North (4-3) off its game plan numerous times throughout the evening.
“We do like to use our speed a lot,’’ said Johnson. “These guys were a little more physical than what we are used to seeing and playing against, but we knew if we could play our tempo and our game we would have a chance to win it at the end.’’
St. Charles North didn’t have an answer for 6-6 Jerome Davis, who led the Bulldogs with 16 points. Johnson added 13 in the win. Payne scored a game-high 21 for the North Stars, while Alex Goetz had 12 and Chris Preocanin 10.