Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

February 24, 2011

‘Epic’ Contest

Monroe Co. Falcons survive marathon game with Allen Co.

By JAMES BROWN
Glasgow Daily Times

TOMPKINSVILLE — Thirteen high school seniors played a basketball game Wednesday night as if it would be their last. For seven of them, it was their last prep hoops game.

Four quarters and five overtimes it took for Monroe County and Allen County-Scottsville to decide who would go to the Boys’ 15th District Tournament title game and who would go home.

The Falcons finally beat the Patriots, 85-78, in an “epic” contest that was 52 minutes of playing time, or two and a half hours of real time.

“I’ve never been a part of anything like that,” said second-year Monroe head coach Steve Kirkpatrick.

“It was epic. It was an amazing thing to be a part of,” was Allen County coach James Willett’s response. He then said epic twice more and lamented what the loss for his Patriots meant for the team’s seniors. “My heart is breaking for the seven seniors who are in that locker room.”

“There were so many times I thought we were going to extend their season for them,” he paused, “and their careers.”

The first time Willett had that thought was likely in the first overtime.

Monroe scored on an inbounds play 1:19 into the overtime and took a 48-46 lead. Allen County answered with a 4-0 run over the next 23 seconds and led 50-48.

As had been the trend throughout the game and would continue to be in the first four overtimes, when one team scored the other answered.

Monroe’s Keaton Rich scored on a drive to the basket and tied the game at 50-all with 1:18 left in the OT. On the other end, Allen’s Josh Jones hit 1 of 2 foul shots. Just 19 seconds later, Chad Wilson hit 1 of 2 freebies for the Falcons. Game tied again, 51-all, and on to the second overtime.

Jones converted an and-1 for Allen to open the scoring in the second OT and Allen led 54-51.

Rich scored, Jones hit a pair of free throws, then Caleb Sheffield missed a pair of charities with 1:35 left in the period and Monroe trailed 56-53. Less than a minute later, Sheffield redeemed himself.

The Falcons forced a turnover, but missed a 3-pointer. Wilson grabbed the offensive rebound, then Kirkpatrick took a timeout with 52 seconds left.

Out of the timeout, Wilson had his shot from the lane blocked by Boards, but the ball was thrown out to Sheffield at the top of the 3-point arch and he buried the 3. Game tied again, 56-all, and on to the third overtime.

The Falcons took the early lead in the third overtime on a basket by Rich. Thaxson Spears answered for Allen and tied the contest at 58-58 with 2:35 showing in the period.

At the other end of the floor, Tanner Kendall hit 1 of 2 free throws and the door was open for Willett to believe his seniors would get to play another day.

Jones nailed a jumper and the Patriots took a 60-59 edge. Kendall answered with a basket and the Falcons were up 61-60.

After a missed 3 by Allen with nine seconds left, Monroe got a jump ball. Then Rich was fouled with his team clinging to a one-point lead. He missed both free throws and on the scramble for the rebound, Allen County’s Seth Tabor was fouled. By this point, both teams were in the double bonus, meaning Tabor would have two charities and a chance to win the game for his team.

He made the first, missed the second. Game tied again, 61-all, and on to the fourth overtime.

After three overtimes in which both teams were methodical in their approaches to offense, the scoring began to pour more freely in the fourth extra period.

Rich scored quickly for the Falcons, but limped after hitting the layup.

Ogles answered for the Patriots.

Kendall scored for Monroe.

Then, with 2:09 to go in the period, Spears nailed a 3-pointer and Allen was ahead 66-65.

Rich drove to the basket and was fouled, but again was hobbled, grabbing his right calf, after the shot attempt. Monroe took a timeout and Rich received treatment for a cramp, Kirkpatrick said after the game.

Following the timeout, Rich stepped to the foul line and buried both charities. Monroe led 67-66 with 1:43 showing in the period.

With 1:12 left, Kendall hit a pair of free throws and the lead was 69-66. Allen had an answer again. Jones hit two free throws, then, after Boards stole the ball, Ogles scored on a layup and was fouled. He hit the freebie with 36 seconds left and Allen led 71-69.

Then came the Falcons’ answer. Rich scored on a layup and was fouled with 17 seconds showing. The free throw bounced off the rim. Boards got the rebound, but Allen was unable to score again in the fourth overtime.

Game tied again, 71-all, and on to the fifth overtime.

Kirkpatrick said he told his players prior to the fifth overtime to “go out and play basketball.”

There was no strategy for winning a five-overtime game other than for his players to keep playing hard.

Monroe opened the fifth overtime with a free throw by Kendall, then a basket by Wilson after a scramble for a loose  ball.

After a Patriot miss, Kendall scored again and the Falcons led 76-71. The game wasn’t over.

Allen responded with a 7-2 run and tied the game at 78-78 on a basket by Jones with 2:01 left in the game. That was the Patriots’ final score of the game.

Wilson and Rich each hit a pair of free throws over the next minute and Boards and Jones both fouled out of the game as Monroe took the lead for good. The Falcons eventually scored seven straight points at the foul line.

Game over. Falcons won 85-78 and punched their ticket to Friday night’s title game against Glasgow in Tompkinsville.