It looked like the perfect ending for Golden Gate.
Trailing by one with less than 30 seconds to go against the 11-1 Bulldogs of DeSoto County, the Titans turned on the defensive pressure and got the play they needed. Joey Woods stole the ball and found his cousin J.D. Woods near the basket. J.D. Woods took it inside and scored with a foul called on the Bulldogs with 9.8 seconds remaining. Or so everyone thought.
GULFSHORE SHOOTOUT VIDEO
The officials huddled together and decided there was no continuation on the play and that Woods would shoot a one-and-one out of a DeSoto timeout. Woods missed the front end of the one-and-one, DeSoto's Sheldon Shine grabbed the rebound, and the Bulldogs went on to post a 68-64 win on Friday at the Naples Daily News Gulfshore Shootout at Golden Gate High School. DeSoto (12-1) advances to face American Heritage in the fifth-place game today at 3:30 p.m. Golden Gate (5-8) finished the tournament at 1-2.
"I definitely thought it was a continuation play and that I had given us the lead there," Woods said. "I think everyone in the stands thought I had hit the shot but the refs saw it a different way. I'm not blaming the refs, because there were some other shots I could have hit during the game that would have made a difference, so I apologize to my teammates for those."
Woods didn't need to apologize, as he scored a team-high 21 points for the Titans. Woods had a game-high 37 in Thursday night's loss to Largo.
"J.D. is definitely picking up the scoring slack with Joey (Woods) struggling a bit with his outside shot," Golden Gate coach Joe Consolino said. "I thought he gave us the lead on that play at the end. It was a very questionable call. I tried to ask the officials what the call was, but they weren't having any of it which is their preogative. It's an outstanding crew of officials, I just wanted to know what their reasoning was on that call."
The Titans have lost back-to-back heartbreakers, falling in overtime to Largo on Thursday night.
Still, Consolino feels his team is ready to turn the corner on its season.
"In both the City of Palms and this tournament, we've gone against some outstanding basketball teams," he said. "These last two games could have gone either way, and we gave a great DeSoto team all they could handle."
The game was close throughout, as neither team had more than a six-point lead the entire way.
The Titans seemed in good shape down the stretch, leading 60-54 on Chip Salter's three-point play with 4:58 to go.
But the Bulldogs' impressive athletes took over, and DeSoto scored 11 straight points to lead 65-60 with just over a minute to play. Tyre Thomas' three-point play got the run started, and Shevon Shine's lay-up made it a one-point Golden Gate lead at 60-59. Following a Golden Gate turnover, Sheldon Shine was fouled on a putback attempt and hit 1-of-2 free throws to tie it. On the free-throw miss, the ball went out of bounds off Golden Gate, setting up Sheldon Shine's three-pointer to make it 63-60. Shine's lay-in capped the burst, and the Titans appeared done at 65-60 with 1:25 to go.
Enter Joey Woods, who was brilliant defensively down the stretch. His lay-up cut the deficit to three points, and his quick hands forced a DeSoto turnover. J.D. Woods' pair of free throws made it 65-64, and another Joey Woods steal gave Salter a chance to give the Titans the lead. Salter missed the shot, with Sheldon Shine pulling down the rebound. Joey Woods stole Shine's pass, setting up J.D. Woods for the fateful basket that wasn't.
"Joey and J.D. make our team go, there's no question about that," Consolino said. "And although Joey's shot has been off lately, he makes up for it with his outstanding defense."
Golden Gate showed it wasn't going to be intimidated by DeSoto early on, trading baskets with the Bulldogs for most of the first half. The game was tied 35-35 at the break, and a J.D. Woods jumper gave Golden Gate a 41-40 lead early in the third. DeSoto used an 8-1 run to grab a six-point edge, but the Titans immediately responded with a 7-1 run of their own to close the gap to 51-50 after three. Reserve forward Donnell Wilson scored four of his nine points during the quarter-closing burst.
Although the Titans played well enough to win, they didn't have an answer for the Shine brothers - senior Sheldon, junior Shavon and freshman Darion. The trio combined for 49 points, with Sheldon picking up a game-high 28 points.
"We knew going in we'd have to stop (Sheldon Shine) and his penetration," Consolino said. "I don't think we did a good enough job of that. He's a tremendous athlete, and we didn't do much to slow him down."
Golden Gate hopes the holiday tournaments will get the team ready for the meat of its schedule following the New Year. The Titans will get a stern test when Fort Myers comes to town on Jan. 5.
"These last two games will be good for us in the long run," J.D. Woods said. "We know we can compete with anybody."
Shav. Shine 6 3-4 15; D. Shine 3 0-0 6; Camel 0 0-0 0; Shel. Shine 10 7-10 28; Ty. Thomas 4 4-6 13; D. Thomas 2 0-0 4; Dennis 0 0-0 0; Alexander 1 0-0 2. Totals 26 14-20 68.
GOLDEN GATE (64)
Moss 1 0-0 2; Joey Woods 6 1-1 15; J.D. Woods 7 6-11 21; Mathis 0 0-0 0; St. Fort 2 2-2 6; Salter 2 1-2 5; Charles 2 0-0 6; Wilson 3 3-4 9. Totals 23 13-20 64.
DeSoto 23 12 16 17 - 68
Golden Gate 20 15 15 14 - 64
Three-pointers: DeSoto - Shel. Shine, Ty. Thomas. Golden Gate - Joey Woods (2), Charles (2), J.D. Woods. Team fouls: Golden Gate 18, DeSoto 17. Fouled out: none. Technicals: None.