Troy Reeves’ late basket sends Madison La Follette past Madison Memorial
Madison La Follette senior guard Troy Reeves works regularly on a turnaround jumper from the left baseline in practice.
When the 6-foot-1 Reeves was called on in the waning seconds of Friday night’s game against Madison Memorial, those repetitions were rewarded in a big way.
With the clocking winding down in a tie game, La Follette senior point guard Donneil Gray passed into the left corner to junior Ben Probst, who split a double-team trap and delivered a pass to Reeves on the left baseline.
Reeves turned and smoothly fired in a shot from about 10 feet, giving the host Lancers a two-point lead with 2.6 seconds remaining.
After two timeouts with 2.1 seconds left, Probst intercepted Memorial senior Dryden Schaefer’s long inbound pass, sealing La Follette’s 63-61 victory in a Big Eight Conference boys basketball game.
“The play was just to get the best look possible,” Reeves said. “We run that play in practice. Once I got it, I knew I had to hit it because I was wide open. … I was excited, but I knew we still had to get a stop. Now we are still in the race for the conference title.”
The 6-1 Probst made four 3-pointers and had 23 points in leading La Follette (11-3, 9-2 Big Eight) to its fourth consecutive victory and into sole possession of second place in the league standings.
“My teammates and coaches always tell me to keep shooting,” Probst said. “My teammates were finding me and the open shots kept falling. It was a good team game. We got some big stops and shots fell.”
On Reeves’ winning shot, Probst said he went to the corner while Gray dribbled out front before starting a drive toward the basket.
“We had shooters go to the corners,” Probst said. “I looked for my shot. Troy was wide open underneath and he made the shot. It’s great. It’s a big win in the conference. It puts us alone for second. We have to keep going on a roll. We are playing our best basketball right now.”
La Follette coach Curtrel Robinson said he thought Probst might “force the 3. But he split the ‘D’ and split the trap and he found Troy wide open. Those are things we work on and drill before in practice.”
Reeves came off the bench and scored 19 points, including 11 in the first half, and Gray added 16 points. The Lancers rallied from an 11-1 deficit and led 29-27 at halftime. Robinson said his team maintained its pressure defense, which he believes wore down the Spartans.
Senior forward Nick Caropreso had a team-high 23 points for Memorial (9-3, 8-3), ninth in Division 1 in The Associated Press state rankings. Senior guard Cade Ellingson scored 13 points and Schaefer added 11 points for the Spartans, who lost their second consecutive game after winning seven in a row.
“It was a great game,” Memorial coach Steve Collins said. “We just shot the ball better (than in the Spartans’ 44-29 loss to Sun Prairie on Saturday). It’s a City game. City games are always like that — just intense both on the offensive and defensive end.”
La Follette, receiving votes (11th overall) in Division 1, pulled within one game of league-leading Madison East. Third-place Memorial remained two games back.
“It was a tie game with 15 seconds to go,” Collins said. “That’s all you can ask as a coach.”
Probst’s 3-pointer from the right corner gave La Follette a 43-37 lead in the second half.
But Memorial fought back from a 46-38 deficit. The Spartans used a 5-0 run to close within 57-56 with 2 minutes, 48 seconds left to play. Gray sank two free throws with 1:56 remaining, but Ellingson answered with a basket with 1:37 to play.
Gray made a runner in the lane, boosting the Lancers’ lead to 61-58 with 1:24 left. Caropreso connected on the first of two free throws, pulling the Spartans within 61-59 with 50.1 seconds remaining.
Caropreso then converted two free throws with 31.1 seconds left, tying the game at 61. The Lancers then maintained possession, setting up Reeves’ shot.
The Spartans won the first meeting between the teams earlier this season, defeating the Lancers 68-64 behind Ellingson’s 21 points. Probst led the Lancers with 18 points in that game, but Gray didn’t play due to a knee injury.
Madison Memorial 27 34 — 61
Madison La Follette 29 34 — 63
MADISON MEMORIAL — Brown 1 2-3 4, Ellingson 4 3-4 13, Younk 1 0-0 2, Lewis 0-0 0, Jackson 0 0-0 0, Caropreso 8 6-8 23, Schaefer 5 0-2 11, Mitchell 0 0-0 0, Yu 3 1-2 8. Totals 22 12-19 61.
MADISON LA FOLLETTE — Do. Gray 5 5-6 16, Da. Gray 0 1-2 1, Smith 2 0-0 4, Probst 9 1-3 23, Reeves 8 2-3 19, Prather 0 0-2 0, Stewart 0 0-0 0, De. Gray 0 0-0 0, Kunkel 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 9-16 63.
3-point goals — MM 5 (Ellingson 2, Caropreso 1, Schaefer 1, Yu 1); MLF 6 (Probst 4, Do. Gray 1, Reeves 1). Total fouls — MM 15; MLF 18.