MARIETTA -- Pope overcame an early double-digit deficit to defeat Woodstock 71-67 in triple overtime at the Cobb-Cherokee Challenge on Friday at Walton.
Trailing by 13 points midway through the second quarter, the Greyhounds (4-5) came back to narrow the gap and eventually overcame the Wolverines (3-6) in extra time to take a hard-fought win.
“(Woodstock) played really well,” Pope coach Pat Abney said. “We didn’t play poorly. It was a good high school game. We’ve been playing well lately, and we played a good game (Friday).”
Will Kolker scored 21 points -- including his 1,000th career point -- and was among four players to score in double figures for Pope (3-5). Cam Bleshoy added 18 points, while Zach Marinko and Jack Dempsey had 11 points each.
Landon Stubblefield scored 34 points -- including five 3-pointers -- to lead the way for Woodstock (3-5).
Leading 15-11 at the end of the first quarter, Woodstock began the second period with a 13-4 run to take a 28-15 lead with 3:32 remaining in the first half. Wes Bruno hit back-to-back 3-pointers to finish the run
Pope went on to score eight unanswered points to close the gap to 28-23, and the first half ended with Woodstock holding a narrow 31-27 advantage.
The Wolverines maintained a slight edge over the Greyhounds throughout the second half and were up 50-46 with 2:03 remaining in the game when Areeb Khan stole the ball and scored on a layup to cut the lead to 50-48.
After Cole Foster missed a free-throw attempt for Woodstock with 38 seconds left, Bleshoy was fouled on the other end of the court and sank both of his shots at the line to tie the game at 50-all with 11 seconds to go.
The Wolverines had one more opportunity for the win in regulation, but Bruno’s jumper from the corner rolled off the rim at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
The game was tied at 54-all with 2:21 remaining in the first overtime when Leo Mesumbe scored on a putback to give Woodstock a 56-54 lead with 1:49 left. Pope was unable to tie the game again when Dempsey hit only one of his two free throws to keep the Greyhounds behind 56-55, and the Wolverines added to their advantage with a couple of free throws by Stubblefield to make it 58-55 with 44 seconds left.
However, Kolker saved the day for Pope when he nailed a 3-pointer with 18 seconds to go to even the score at 58-all, and the game went to a second extra period.
In the second overtime, Pope led 62-60 with 1:03 remaining when Danny Sanders hit a 3 to put Woodstock ahead 63-62, but the Greyhounds were able to force a third overtime when Kolker made one of two attempts at the line to tie the game at 63-all with 16 seconds left.
Marinko’s 3-pointer with 3:37 left in the third extra period put Pope ahead 66-63, and the Greyhounds stayed in front the rest of the way.
“At the end of the game, we kind of let things slip away,” Woodstock coach Josh Pierce said. “We couldn’t close things out at the free-throw line, and that’s kind of been our Achilles' heel this year. We shot 50% at the free-throw line in four of our eight games, so that’s definitely been our Achilles' heel this year.”