Jubilation at Jeff West
Chieftain boys rally in double overtime thriller against Tigers
Once, twice, three times a comeback.
Jeff West was in position to drop the Tonganoxie boys team at numerous junctures late in a non-league game Friday on the Tigers' home court in Meriden.
But it was the Chieftains -- once at the end of regulation, again in the first overtime and finally in the second overtime -- who clawed and scratched their way to a pulse-checking 67-65 double overtime win.
Trailing by three with seconds remaining in regulation, Tonganoxie worked against the clock and the possession. Jeff West had the ball out of bounds at mid-court. On the first inbounds play, the Chieftains stayed on their Jeff West counterparts and forced a Tiger timeout.
In jeopardy again of being whistled for a five-second violation, a Jeff West player threw the ball into the mid-court, but Derek Sparks got a hand on the ball and scooted it toward fellow senior Luke McCarty. Not known for his perimeter shooting, the post player grabbed the loose ball at the top of the key, put up a shot and watched the ball touch only net.
"I was just in the right place at the right time," said McCarty, who made his first career three-point shot Friday.
The teams entered the first overtime knotted at 52, but Jeff West looked determined to get an overtime win and head home early in the first extra period. The Tigers jumped to a six-point lead before the Chieftains could score. THS then climbed back to within one at 58-57.
But again, Jeff West stayed in front and had a 61-59 lead with just 2.2 seconds remaining.
That again wouldn't be a problem for the Chieftains. Senior Justin Walker was up to the task this time. Walker already had put up a shot off an alley-oop from Levi Huseman -- who was inbounding the ball from half-court -- as time expired in the third quarter.
In the first overtime, however, the THS quarterback had to use his arm to push for another overtime. On the inbounds play from the Jeff West baseline, Walker threw a strike to junior Sam Mitchell who missed his shot but was fouled.
Trailing by two, Mitchell stepped to the line and calmly drained free throw No. 1.
For the tie, Mitchell sank free throw No. 2 in a similar fashion.
"First off, I took a deep breath," said Mitchell who finished with 11 points.
Jeff West again grabbed the early lead in the second overtime, this time with a three-point play.
On this occasion, though, the 64-61 lead would be the Tigers' last. The Chieftains headed to the line and sank four free throws in the second overtime.
Levi Huseman hit one of two charity shots in the period and gave the Chieftains a two-point lead.
student section flanked the winning Chieftains after an exhausting road win.
"These guys had every opportunity to lay over, but they refused to lay over," THS coach David Walker said after his team played through seven ties and seven lead changes.
Friday's game could be a crucial victory as the team makes its way toward substate.
Instead of dropping to 4-7, the Chieftains are right near .500 with a 5-6 record. After starting the season 2-5, the team has won three of its last four games.
Junior Kirk Rodell paced the Chieftains with a game-high and career-high 22 points as nine players scored for Tonganoxie.
The Chieftains played Basehor-Linwood on Tuesday and will take on Santa Fe Trail on Friday.
Both games are in Tonganoxie.
BOYS BOX SCORE
Tonganoxie 67, Jeff West 65 (2OT)
THS 11 10 15 16 9 6 -- 67
JW 14 10 12 16 9 4 -- 65
Tonganoxie -- Baska 2, Howard 8, Sparks 8, Rodell 22, Mitchell 11, Huseman 3, Walker 3, McCarty 9, Morris 1.
Jeff West -- Cherry 6, Tuck 17, Brown 9, Wiedwald 2, Roberts 12, Brandonberg 6, Rodecap 13.
GIRLS BOX SCORE
THS 50, Jeff West 35
Tonganoxie 13 8 14 15 -- 50
Jeff West 5 13 11 6 -- 35
Tonganoxie (8-4) -- Pistora 14, Heim 12, McWilliams 10, Weller 6, Jeannin 6, Breuer 2.
Jeff West (7-6) -- Mullins 15, Myers 9, Palmateer 6, Rodecap 3, Sutton 2.
Down for the first time late in any period, Jeff West couldn't rally for a third overtime and the Tonganoxie