In a battle between visiting Franklin and Columbus East that could not be decided in regulation, it took a Thomas Myers free throw with no time remaining on the clock in overtime for the Olympians to squeak out a 63-62 victory Saturday afternoon.
Following a miss by Franklin as the clock was winding down, Myers was pushed while going for the rebound just before the buzzer sounded and a foul was called on Franklin’s Cody Mahler.
Because there was no time remaining on the clock, Myers had to walk down to the other end of the court and sink one of the two free throws he was awarded since East was in the double bonus. Myers only needed the first, and he calmly sank his free throw to give the Olympians the victory.
“It was weird that there was no time on the clock,” Myers said. “I think it helped that the score was tied, and there was less pressure. I’m happy I was able to hit the first shot.”
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On an afternoon where the junior varsity game went into double overtime before East pulled out the victory, the varsity game was not to be outdone. After a back-and-forth game where no team led by more than eight points, the Olympians found themselves trailing 58-55 with 10 seconds left.
Following a timeout by East, Matt Frost was able to get loose behind the arc and nail a 3-pointer to tie the game with two seconds left, sending the game into overtime.
“We didn’t have an actual play set up,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “We wanted to drive and kick the ball out and see who was open. Frost is one of our first choices, but there wasn’t a play that was set up specifically for him.”
The Olympians got off to a strong start to begin the game, jumping out to a 16-11 lead on a Myers follow with 2:15 remaining in the first quarter. After the teams traded baskets, East led 18-13 after one quarter.
“I thought we started out well. I was a little concerned that our game was moved up to 4:30 (it was originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m.) because that changes when you wake up, when you watch film, when you do your walkthrough, and other things,” Chitty said. “But I thought our kids responded well.”
The Olympians were able to gain their largest lead at 21-13 early in the second quarter on a Dane Denniston 3-pointer. The Grizzly Cubs, however answered right back with an 11-4 run to cut the lead to 25-24 on a 3-pointer by Reece Thomson with 4:15 left in the first half.
East was able to take the lead back up to five on a pair of free throws by Drew Hasson near the end of the half to go into the locker room leading 34-29.
Franklin began the second half with a 7-0 run to take its first lead of the game at 36-34. Following an Olympians timeout, they were able to regain their composure as well as the lead on a Hasson field goal with 2:50 left in the third quarter. East was able to stretch the lead back to 43-38 going in to the fourth quarter.
The two teams played evenly throughout the first part of the final quarter, with the Olympians holding onto a slim lead until Franklin’s Thomson nailed another 3 off of an offensive rebound to tie the game at 45. East answered with four quick points to once again take the lead, but back to back 3-pointers by the Grizzly Cubs’ Blaine Wentzell put Franklin back up by two with 3:00 left in regulation.
Two Frost free throws cut the lead to one, but with time running out, the Olympians decided to foul. Drew Byerly sank both free-throws to put the Grizzly Cubs up three with 13 seconds remaining, setting up the dramatic end to regulation and overtime.
Frost led East with 20 points. Hasson chipped in with 14.
“Our focus is to put 32 minutes of good basketball together,” Chitty said. “I thought we played really well with the exception of a couple of stretches today.”