Two teams with three-game winning streaks to start the boys basketball season needed two overtimes to decide their contest Tuesday at Washington High School.
The Blue Jays (4-0) trailed Parkway Central for most of the night, but made big plays down the stretch for a 61-60 victory.
“This was fun. I know some people don’t like double overtime games early in the week because they don’t get much sleep. As a head coach, I don’t get much sleep anyway, no matter what day it is,” said Washington Head Coach Grant Young. “We were down for the entire four quarters and had a different kid step up and make a big play to help us win the game.”
The game-winning shot came from senior guard Jacob Mulkey.
With Washington trailing 60-58, Mulkey drilled a three-pointer with six seconds left in the second overtime to put the Blue Jays ahead for good.
The Colts (3-1) had one final chance. After calling a timeout and having to go the length of the court with 5.8 seconds left, they attempted an off-balance perimeter shot that missed at the buzzer.
“A game like this helps you once you get to the playoffs to say we’ve been here before, we’ve come back and we’ve won in double overtime,” Young said. “The kids didn’t quit and they executed when they had to execute on crucial plays. We never got dejected. The kids knew we could still finish this off. You could see it in their eyes. As a coach, you love seeing kids with that kind of drive.”
Trailing 46-43, Washington got a three-pointer from Brad Carpenter to tie the game with 1:17 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Both teams held the lead during the first overtime, which ended in a 54-54 tie.
“Brad sent us into overtime with a three. That was big. Ronnie (Suggs) had a big steal to give us an extra opportunity. And of course Mulkey, a senior, he had enough space, time was running out, I was standing right there. It was on line from the time it left his hands and he had the confidence to make it,” Young said. “You have to love kids like that. We have a lot of kids who want to try to win the game and can score on their own, which gets us out of our offense at times. But you have to love kids who know they can take over and win a game at any time. We have a lot of kids who can do that.”
Only three Blue Jays scored in the game.
With his future University of Missouri coaches watching in the stands, head coach Frank Haith and assistant coach Dave Leitao, Ronnie Suggs finished the game with 30 points and 14 rebounds.
Carpenter nailed six three-pointers and a pair of free throws to collect 20 points.
Mulkey pitched in with 11 points, including the game-winning three-pointer.
Also playing for the Blue Jays were Austin Subke, Mike Morgan, Patrick Menke and Trey Walsh.
“I know we had three kids score, but the other kids did the little things like screens, rebounds and the dirty work defensively,” Young said. “It takes more than three kids to win a game. It takes everyone who steps on the floor. Patrick Menke had a big defensive rebound late in the second overtime. Mike Morgan had a big rebound as well.”
Washington connected for eight three-pointers and was 13-18 from the free-throw line.
“It was a very physical, well-fought game against a team that’s very well-coached defensively,” Young said. “We can make a lot of threes, but we had a tough time getting open shots, whether it was getting to the basket or getting an open three. There wasn’t much space.”
A key to the Washington win was shutting down Parkway Central’s 6-6 senior forward Nathan Biggs in the second half. He scored 20 points, 18 of which were in the first half.
Jarett Cox-Bradley, Kyle Disch and Connor Kraus each added nine points.
“Defensively, we adjusted well in the second half. We made sure we limited Biggs’ touches in the second half,” Young said. “During regulation, they did not make a three. We were going to make them beat us from the three-point line in the second half. We really packed the inside, stayed inside the three-point line and when Biggs did touch it, we made him kick it out before he could get too far inside the lane.”
Parkway Central held leads of 16-13 after one quarter and 33-25 at halftime. Rick Kirby’s Colts led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter.
Washington stayed within shouting distance in the third quarter, trailing 39-34 heading into the fourth period.
Suggs and Carpenter both hit three-pointers in the fourth quarter prior to Carpenter’s game-tying shot.
The Blue Jays had two shots in the final seconds of regulation for the win, but missed on both.
A three-pointer by Carpenter gave Washington a 54-52 lead with 57 seconds left in the first overtime, but the Colts tied it with 41 seconds left.
In the second overtime, Central made one of two free throws to give it a 60-58 lead with 21 seconds left, which set up Mulkey’s game-winning shot with six seconds remaining.
“It was a great atmosphere for a December game between two very good teams,” Young said. “I’m glad we were able to come away with a win at home early in the year. Maybe this will help us because we have a tough schedule.”