ATHENS, Oh –
The Tartans took control of the game almost immediately after the opening tip-off, and got the first score of the game after an Akia Brown two-pointer less than a minute into the game.
After giving up a score to Western, Adam Bailey’s squad went on an 11-1 run for the next 6:10 in the first quarter, taking a 13-5 lead with only 47 seconds remaining in the first period.
Western would get the last score of the first, cutting the then 10-point lead of East to only eight points, 15-7.
Things looked great for the Tartans going into the second quarter, but would quickly turn sour, as the Indians gradually away at East’s lead throughout the quarter.
With 4:41 seconds left in the second period, Western’s Tanner Perdue came up with a big steal off East, and then drove in and scored off a layup to give the Indians their fist lead of the night, 18-17.
The Tartans regained the lead a few moments later, and continued to lead by no more than three points in a great back and forth relay between the Tartans and Indians.
After a foul by East, Perdue hit two more free throws in what was a tied game to give Western a 28-26 lead, as the last 17 seconds in the half expired shortly after.
The third and fourth quarters were a dog fight between the two schools representing the SOC I.
Neither team was able to gain enough momentum to take a breath. The largest lead in the third was only four points, in favor of the Western, and was almost immediately cut to two points after East’s Blaine Scott got a score for the Tartans.
The score would be tied two more times in the third, and would remain tied, 41-41, as time expired in the third.
Both teams had terrific fourth quarters, as each team finished with 18 points in the period.
In the period, it looked like the Tartans may start to gain a breath of a lead over the Indians, as they held a five-point lead over Western on three separate occasions. However, the Indians, led by Perdue kept finding ways to get back withing a single score of the Tartans.
With 38 seconds remaining in the fourth, East had a five-point lead over Western, but that lead would not hold, as the Tartans and Indians were going to have to go into overtime.
East found itself in a quick four-point deficit after about a minute and a half of play.
Akia Brown cut the deficit to two after scoring from a layup, and then halved the Western lead again with a free throw.
The Tartans ended up down four points again about a minute later in the game, but cut that deficit to just two points after both Brady Douthat and Blaine Scott hit a free throw off two separate fouls.
After a three pointer by Perdue with 30 seconds remaining in the extra period, Douthat came up huge for East hitting a clutch three-pointer with only 19 seconds remaining, to tie the game 69-69.
Perdue missed a jumper with six seconds remaining. Right after a Western rebound, Blaine Scott was whistled for a foul. Western’s Adam Smithson missed his first free throw, but then hit his second to give the Indians a 70-69 lead with only three seconds remaining.
Tuesday night’s magic didn’t repeat Saturday afternoon, as the Tartans were unable to convert off a long pass and quick 10-foot shot.
The final buzzer was heard, and the Tartans fell to the Indians 70-69.
“I don’t know, it’s heartbreaking, I guess that’s the best way to put it,” Bailey said. “We had a chance to put them away late in the game, and we missed a couple free throws, and didn’t get a stop.”
Everything that could go wrong for the Tartans did in the final moments of the fourth quarter, according to Bailey.
“It’s just one of those things,” Bailey said. “I give my kids a lot of credit, they really stepped up and showed heart and determination. They never gave up.”
The Tartans had a chance at the end to win the game off another wild potential game winning shot.
“The ball just didn’t bounce our way,” Bailey said.
The Tartans had an opportunity to make a shot, and win a District Championship, an opportunity nearly every other team in Scioto County did not have.
“When you’re in that situation, I think it hurts a little bit more for the kids,” Bailey said. “It’s hard to see your kids, and the look in their eyes, because you know what they’ve been through, and how hard they worked and battled today, but didn’t get the outcome they wanted.”
The Tartans had no seniors on this year’s squad, and barring any injuries or transfers, every member of the team will return for next year’s season, which Bailey is cautiously optimistic about.
East – Brown 6-9-21, B. Scott 7-7-21, Hatcher 4-3-11, Douthat 2-2-8, Flannery 1-0-3, Shope 1-0-3, Lowe 1-0-2
Western – Perdue 12-15-39, L. Brewster 2-4-10, B. Brewster2-2-6, Smithson 2-1-5, Stevens 2-0-4, Herman 1-0-2, Dunn 1-0-2, Hersman 1-0-2
Three-point field goals – East 4 (Douthat 2, Flannery, Shope) Western 2 (L. Brewster)
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931 or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.