Elliott Sr. jokes when asked how many game-winning shots he had in his career. Clearly, Elliott Jr. has one-upped his father in that regard.

Actually, you could say he has "three-upped" him — and that's just this season.

"I may have hit 50 game-winners in my life, but only one counted," said Elliott Sr., who hit a game-winning shot a couple years ago in Paris to help his team clinch a playoff spot. "The other ones were on the playground by myself. I would be winding down the clock — 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 — and even if I missed, I would get fouled and win the game on the free-throw line."

With Elliott Sr. playing out of the country for most months each year during the younger Elliott's childhood, summer provided quality time for father-son bonding.


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Elliott Sr. showed his son the importance of hard work, dedication and practice as they worked on his basketball skills in the gym.

In addition to practicing, they spend hours watching basketball games together, giving Elliott Jr. a deeper understanding of the game.

After Elliott hit a jumper with 3.8 seconds left to lead John Carroll past No. 1 St. Frances, 42-41 on Jan. 18 — this coming right after he completed a 27-point performance with a deciding jumper at the buzzer in a 54-52 win over Glenelg Country two nights earlier — he found himself in a similar situation in the Patriots' next game against Archbishop Spalding.

With the game tied at 50 and the ball again in Elliott's hands, the Cavaliers quickly collapsed on him out front with five seconds to play. Elliott found an open man, sophomore guard Elijah Long, who buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer for another dramatic win.

"Before the game during warm-ups, Rodney helped me with my shot," Long said. "I kept fading away and he told me to jump straight up and down. By him telling me, it gave me more confidence. When I shot that last shot, it came natural to me. I just pointed over to him and he smiled. Him being so composed in a game just really calms the whole team down and it helps us get through the clutch moments."

The Patriots have to rely on their defense with less offensive firepower this season. They play hard and smart. And Elliott sets a quiet, but confident tone with his play.

Rarely will you see Elliott show a great deal of emotion on the floor. He's always calm and collected and leads by example.

But this season, he has shown exuberance after his late-game heroics. Following one of the winning baskets, he saluted the crowd. Another time, he displayed a flex pose.

Asked about the adrenaline rush that comes with taking and making a game-winning shot, Elliott quickly returns to character.

"As a team, we can't always put ourselves in that situation where we have to count on that last-second shot. We need to open up leads, so we can get more sound wins. But, yeah, it's a great feeling hitting that shot."

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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