|Ogallala overtakes PC, pulls last-second win with tight defense|
By Pastor Vince Carrig
Indians center Jerik Victory hit the warpath and burned 11 fourth quarter points on the board–including the game winner from 17 feet away–allowing his team to steal a last-second, 48-47 win from the Plainsmen in Ogallala last Thursday night.
The Plainsmen led 47-43 with 1:21 left after Michael York downed a couple of free throws, but Ogallala’s defense tightened to hold off two Perkins County attempts to leave town with a win.
The teams locked up in an ultimate fight to the finish in the final minute, with no one able to predict a winner until the buzzer.
Andy Faesser intercepted a Plainsmen inbound pass after Victory’s dagger, forcing Perkins County to donate foul shots to guard Trent Neill with 15.9 seconds left.
Neill let Perkins County off the hook, but the Indians’ defense swarmed ball-handler Michael York and forced him to launch a desperation shot.
York’s shot never stood a chance, but Ogallala forward Derek Blessing pumped life into a finished game by fouling York beyond the arc.
York contended with both tired bones and deafening crowd noise as he launched shots that just would not obey his wishes with 1.2 seconds left.
“As bad as the last three shots felt, we had our chances to win the game at other times of the game. Everyone just focuses on the last three shots; those were just the last thing to happen,” Plainsmen Head Coach Shawn Cole said after the game.
“Overall we played one of our best games of the year–fewest turnovers, we shot the ball well, we played good defense. Things just didn’t fall our way the last part of the game,” Coach Cole said.
Indeed, York co-led the team with 14 points, and actually made more free throws (five) than anyone on the court.
Kye Kurkowski rivaled Victory in the fourth quarter, rotating three jumpers down the hatch. Kurkowski hit seven close-range and mid-range jumpers overall, walking away with 14 points as well.
To their credit, the Indians harnessed the enthusiasm of their chanting crowd and made the unlikely happen.
Guard Trent Neill struck for three “threes” in the first half, but stayed off the score sheet in the second half. Blessing, however, picked up for him by pulling a three pointer out of his pocket in the fourth quarter to pull the Indians to within two at 45-43 with 3:00 left.
The Plainsmen built their first seven-point lead (39-32) at the end of the third quarter with Jeremy Hagan’s three pointer. Hagan shot the ball extremely well, hitting another “three” and a couple of mid-range shots to pile up 10 points.
The only player to score in every quarter, however, Victory’s inside-outside game pulled down 21 points for Ogallala. Although Perkins County wished his point total had matched his jersey number (“0”), Victory drained jumpers from eight and 14 feet away and got to the rack for layups and foul calls.
Coaches and players alike certainly think about what could have made the outcome different after a hard-to-swallow loss like this one.
For example, Victory drove to the basket, took contact, and got the “continuation” benefit from the referees and an extra foul shot for good measure.
York hazarded the lane, got clipped, and counted a good shot off the window. Referees called the Ogallala foul “on the floor,” wiped the basket off the board, and sent York to the foul line with only the opportunity to score two points, not three.
A different opinion of a similar situation could have led to… a different winner.
Spectators, however, got the privilege of watching two good, evenly-matched teams play at a high level and leave all of their effort on the court; no one could ask for more than that.
PC 47 Ogallala 48
Perkins County 11 18 10 8—47
Ogallala 12 12 8 16—48
The 12-8 Plainsmen cool their jets until flying over to McCook High School to open the NSAA’s C2 Sub-District 11 tournament against 13-6 Dundy County on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 7:45 p.m. CST.
Perkins County spanked the Tigers 82-63 in a game in Benkelman earlier this year.
A first-round win for the number-two seeded Plainsmen would likely set up a third and deciding game between Perkins County and top-ranked North Platte St. Patrick’s on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.