Keith squeaks by Wilcox in wild overtime gamePublished 1:15am Saturday, November 23, 2013
ORRVILLE — It was clear from the outset that Friday’s game between the Keith Bears and the Wilcox Central Jaguars would be a dogfight.
The back and forth game went into double overtime, where Keith pulled out a 68-64 win that sent fans running onto the floor in celebration.
Just seconds after Keith took the lead on a Demond Holmes layup with 22 seconds left, Anfernee Simmons stole the ball and made a layup as the final buzzer sounded, sealing the victory for the Bears.
After playing two overtime periods, both teams were exhausted. Keith head coach Tommy Tisdale said his team’s conditioning was the difference down the stretch.
“My hats off to the guys and their preseason conditioning,” Tisdale said. “It was going into the second overtime and the guys told me ‘don’t worry about it coach, we’ll go a third one if we have to.’ Sometimes you just need a little luck, but hey, I’ll take it.”
Tisdale now has 99 wins as the Bears’ head coach.
The game started out slow. The quick, physical style of play from both teams prevented easy baskets. But as the game wore on Holmes came up big for his team in key moments, scoring 20 total points. Freddie Smith played a pivotal role for the Jaguars, scoring 22 total points.
After a close first half, Keith began to fall behind, but didn’t let the Jaguars’ lead grow to more than eight. The game seemed to shift in favor of the Bears when Tisdale called a timeout with 24 second remaining in the third quarter.
In the closing minutes of the third quarter, Keith’s Dalven Johnson scored on a layup, referees called a travel on Wilcox Central and Keith’s Jaequan Simmons hit a buzzer-beating three in the right corner to put the Bears up by four.
Once the game went into overtime, the crowd came alive, which may have caused Smith to miss a key free throw that would have won the game for the Jaguars.
With 6.5 seconds left, Smith drove down the court and into the left corner. He hurled the ball into the air from three-point range and was fouled.
As he approached the foul line the crowd noise steadily grew to a deafening roar.
He made the first and third shot, but missed the second, sending the game into a second overtime.
Wilcox Central was up by four at one point in the second overtime, but a six-point run by the Bears sealed the game.