Eli Brooks was all smiles Tuesday night, hugging his family and high-fiving a throng of Spring Grove fans who lined up to congratulate their star guard.
And he had every right to be.
The junior scored 33 points, including the game-winning shot in overtime to lift Spring Grove to a 55-54 win at Dallastown, extending the Rockets' winning streak to nine games.
And to put a cherry on top of his stellar evening, Brooks' AAU team the Jersey Shore Warriors tweeted out that Brooks picked up an offer from American University, who was in the house Tuesday to see the junior put on a show.
Down by one with less than 30 seconds left in overtime, Spring Grove called a timeout and elected to hold for the last shot and a potential game-winning bucket. After a scramble at the top of the key and near turnover, Brooks caught a pass, took two dribbles to his left and pulled up. His jumper, which had been so reliable for him all night, fell through the net with 1.1 seconds left, sending the Spring Grove faithful into a hysteria. Brooks left his shooting hand up in the air as he bounced back toward halfcourt, then looked over at the Rockets fans and smiled.
Eli Brooks sinks the game-winner at Dallastown. Brandon Stoneburg
"We were just trying to get the best shot we could and it just happened to be in my hands," Brooks said of his game-winner. "I'm glad my teammates trust me with the ball and it was just a good win to fight back. It was a good test. Dallastown is a good team and scrappy too."
"We knew Eli was going to have the ball," Spring Grove head coach James Brooks added with a smile. "He's pretty good at that pull up so I was pretty confident."
The shot in overtime wasn't the only clutch moment for Brooks, who also knocked down six 3-pointers. He scored 10 points in the third quarter to bring Spring Grove back after Dallastown had taken its largest lead at 46-39 and he sank two free throws to tie the game with less than 30 seconds left in regulation.
"It shows how tough he is," James Brooks said of his son. "He's going to have to fight through some things and he still has to perform. He carried us and I'm just glad he's as good as he is."
Donovan Catchings scored six of his 11 points in the fourth quarter to give the Wildcats a five-point lead with three minutes left. After Spring Grove tied the game, Catchings had a chance to win the game but his shot was blocked at the buzzer. Catchings fouled out after giving Dallastown a three-point lead in overtime.
"Tip of the cap to Brooks for hitting the shot," Dallastown head coach Mike Grassel said. "Our kids did everything we asked them to do and they played their butts off. They deserved to win that game just as much as Spring Grove if not more. Sometimes it's just how the ball drops."
Darin Gordon scored 10 points for Spring Grove but struggled to find his shot. But the senior blocked four shots and recorded two steals on the defensive end.
"It's not going to be everyone's night offensively," Brooks said of Gordon. "But the fact that he didn't hang his head and he stuck with it shows a lot about him. These guys have character and they're going to fight."
Spring Grove 55, Dallastown 54 (OT)
Spring Grove (55)
Eli Brooks 11 5-6 33, Darin Gordon 5 0-0 10, Grant Wierman 5 0-0 11, Dr. Gordon 0 1-2 1, Flaherty 0 0-0 0, Sager 0 0-0 0, Messersmith 0 0-0 0, Panter 0 0-0 0. Totals — 21 6-8 55.
Brandon McGlynn 6 3-4 15, A. Ward 3 2-2 10, Da'Trail Albert 5 1-1 12, Donovan Catchings 4 1-1 11, Diaz 3 0-0 6, B. Ward 0 0-0 0, Caldwell 0 0-0 0. Totals — 21 7-8 54.
Spring Grove_ 12_ 11 _ 16 _ 9 _ 7 _ — _ 55
Dallastown_ 12_ 11 _ 15 _ 10 _ 6 _— _ 54
3-point goals — SG 7 (Brooks 6, Wierman), DT 5 (A. Ward 2, Catchings 2, Albert)