Purdy sank seven of eight free throws in the final 1:22, and Wheaton turned the ball over three times in the same span as the Eagles came from behind to nip the Bulldogs 47-42 in opening-round action of the 27th Holiday Tournament at Washburn on Monday night.
In a shooting contest that perfectly mirrored the evenly-matched play of the two teams, Purdy's Landon Terry edged Wheaton's Donovan Bartkoski for game-high honors, 22-20.
It was Terry who hit a pair of clutch tosses from the charity stripe to tie the game at 42-42 with 1:22 on the fourth-quarter clock. He hit three more in the final 41 seconds, and then T.J. Farris sank his free throws with :04 left to clinch the victory.
It was an old-fashioned chess match between the two coaches, Chris Kennedy, of Purdy, and Rusty Roe, of Wheaton. The tournament was a homecoming of sorts for both men as they both have ties to the Southwest program. Kennedy served the school as a JV assistant to Jeff Swadley and then became Southwest's varsity boys basketball coach and athletic director for several years. Roe graduated from Southwest in 2000, and his father, Jim Roe, was a legendary coach and administrator there also.
After Bartkoski gave Wheaton an icebreaker 2-0 lead, Terry drained a three-ball to give the Eagles their first lead at 3-2. Then Purdy built a 10-6 lead in the opening period on Farris' trey from the right corner at the 4:18 mark. Wheaton countered with a 9-0 run over the next three minutes to take a 15-10 lead. But Purdy's Ryan Veith hit twice from long range in the final minute to cut the Wheaton lead to 18-16 at the break.
Blake Dilbeck led the Bulldogs on a 7-0 run in the second quarter with his two treys. Wheaton led 28-18 with 3:43 left in the half before Terry penetrated and scored for Purdy. Veith then jacked another trey, and Terry popped a midrange jumper for a 5-0 Purdy burst to end the half. But it was the Bulldogs who led 30-25 at intermission.
The third quarter opened and closed with the same reception as a bad off-Broadway show. The Eagles only managed 6 points in the period, and Wheaton had a mere 2. Teams in complete four-corner stalls score more points.
Wheaton carried a slim 32-31 lead into the final period. Sean Goostree hit a three for the Bulldogs, and Devon Bennett matched that for Purdy as the teams cautiously approached each possession. The game was tied at 35-35, 38-38 and 40-40, before Terry's choke-resistant free throws produced the last tie at 42-42.
The last minute was textbook old school basketball. The team with fewer turnovers and better free throw shooting won. Purdy earned the right to face Southwest in the second round, while Wheaton moved on to a consolation-bracket contest with Exeter.
Purdy scorers: Terry 22; Veith 11; Farris 7; Bennett 3; Cody Hall 2; and Drew Williams 2.
Wheaton scorers: Donovan Bartkoski 20; Dilbeck 8, Goostree 6; Jory Bartkoski 2; Jakob Beck 2; James Musick 2; and Jesse Mitchell 2.