Gretzky beats the buzzer to give Storm Rhodes Tourney title


by Brock Borgeson, Sports Editor

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Dillon Gretzky exploded for a game-high 27 points but he saved the most important two for the last second as the senior scored a game-winning layup with one tick left on the clock, giving Simpson (4-2) a 69-67 win over Wittenberg University (4-1) in the Rhodes College Tournament title game.

Tied 67-67, Cody Good stole the ball with 21 seconds remaining, giving Simpson the ball with the shot clock off.

Austin Turner missed the go-ahead layup with three seconds left in the game but the ball caromed out of bounds off Wittenberg, giving Simpson another chance.

The Storm called a timeout, drew up a play and executed it to perfect as they gave the Tigers of the North Coast Athletic Conference their first loss of the season.

The game featured eight lead changes and four ties, but most of the back-and-forth action happened early in the first half as Simpson had to mount a comeback.

Wittenberg led by as many as 11 in the first half and took a 40-31 advantage into the break.

DJ Dafney hit a jumper with 6:42 left in the game to give Simpson a 58-57 lead, their first lead since being ahead 26-25 with six minutes remaining in the first half.

The Tigers regained the lead and held it until Gretzky’s game-winner.

Gretzky went 9 of 15 from the field with eight rebounds to led the way, scoring the most points by a Simpson player in a game this season.

Sam Amsbaugh added 12 points, going 2 of 4 from three as he continues to try to extend his game to the perimeter.

Jaelin Williams scored 18 points to lead the Tigers. Landon Hormann scored eight and reeled in 12 boards.

Taking care of the ball:

Simpson has improved mightily in taking care of the ball this year. That shone through on Sunday as Simpson committed only six turnovers to 18 for Wittenberg.

Additionally, Simpson scored 23 points off turnovers to 10 for Wittenberg, making up for a -13 rebounding margin.

Going for four-straight:

Simpson hopes to make it four-straight on Wednesday when it heads to Waldorf College for a 7 p.m. tip with the 4-1 Warriors.