Washington rode the hot hand to overtime.
Saturday, that hot hand belonged to senior guard Zach Harms, who knocked down a trio of three-point baskets in the final five minutes. That included a game-tying score in the final minute of regulation. The Blue Jays (2-1) got past Normandy (1-2) 50-47 in overtime to win the consolation final at Borgia’s annual Turkey Tournament.
In the final minute of regulation, Washington trailed 44-41 and took a timeout with 45 seconds left, setting up an inbounds play from its own baseline. Not liking what they saw, the Blue Jays used another timeout before running their play to Harms, who was unguarded in the corner and knocked down his third trey of the period.
“We ran the same exact play as we did before and we realized that they didn’t guard Tommy Ruether in the corner,” Head Coach Grant Young. “So, we switched up, used Ruether as a decoy coming through and kept Harms there. We rolled (Cason) Suggs down to yell for the ball and he got the double team. Harms was wide open in the corner. The thing is, you’ve got to make the shot and Harms snuck up, had ice in his veins and made the shot.”
Two other times in the fourth quarter, Harms broke a tied score with his first two three-pointers.
“A lot of people may think Harms went two for about 100 in the last game we played against the Knights, but it shows you tonight, scoring his 15 (points) that we have the confidence in him,” Young said. “He catches, he can shoot at any time. That was big for him tonight.”
Each time, however, Normandy struck back immediately. The first time, Harms broke a 35-35 tie, but The Vikings got a three-pointer of their own on the next possession to tie it back up.
Harms then made it 41-38, but Normandy followed up with a quick two and then a steal followed by another quick basket off the fast break to go back up 42-41 with 2:53 to play.
In overtime, Alec Brinkmann put up the first two, but as it did before, Normandy answered back immediately to re-tie the game at 46.
A Layton Martin free throw gave the Vikings a one-point advantage until the final minute of the overtime period when Suggs, a senior forward, floated across the lane to knock down a short two for Washington’s go-ahead basket.
Brinkmann came down with a crucial rebound with 9.3 seconds to play and was fouled. The Blue Jays were still one foul away from the bonus and a chance at one-and-one free throws, so the foul gave Washington the ball on the Normandy baseline.
The inbounds play was successful to Zach Subke, who took the foul and calmly put through both free throws to make it a three-point game.
Normandy got off a couple of three-point shots in the closing seconds in an attempt to send the game to a second overtime, but neither shot fell through.
For Harms and Subke, the game was their second time coming from behind to win a game in overtime this month. The first was as part of the boys soccer team, which overcame both a 2-0 and a 3-2 deficit to defeat Harrisonville in the state semifinals on Nov. 10. Because of the soccer team’s playoff run, both players had limited time to practice with the basketball squad prior to the tournament.
“Coming off of three-four practices, (Subke) hitting two big free throws coming off the inbounds play that we set up to get the ball to either him or Harms — that was huge, him putting those two free throws in,” Young said. “I’m just so proud of our kids after coming out against McCluer North, maybe the best team in the tournament, and really just showing what we’ve really got to work on once we get back to practice, and then coming out and getting two victories.”
The teams went back and forth as Normandy led 11-7 at the end of the first period, but Washington got three scores from freshman forward Ryan Hoerstkamp to take a 13-12 lead early in the second. Normandy was able to recover and take a 24-18 advantage into halftime.
“Hoerstkamp has done a great job as a freshman just not being scared and coming off the bench and giving us big points and big minutes,” Young said.
The Jays again opened the next period red hot, jumping out to an 8-1 run in the first four minutes of the third quarter to take a 26-25 lead. Normandy again finished the period out in front with a 31-28 edge.
Prior to Harms lighting up the scoreboard with his three-pointers, Suggs controlled the paint with seven points in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter.
“I’m really proud for our kids,” Young said. “I was pretty frustrated. We made some crucial mistakes that third quarter. The first two quarters we had a lot of chippies we missed. We said we wanted to get in the paint, get a lot of scores by driving the basket and post touches. They won those first two quarters, the first half, and I said we can win the next two. Instead of winning two, we won three.”
Suggs finished the game with a team-high 16 points. He was the team’s representative on the all-tournament team after leading Washington in scoring all three games and providing valuable senior leadership.
Harms put up 15 points and Hoerstkamp eight.
Other Washington scorers were Brinkmann with six points, Subke with three and Ruether with two.
The Vikings were led by Breylon Davis, who posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
All-tournament selection Britt Booker scored 11 points for Normandy. Other Vikings to score included Larenz Hamilton with eight points, Martin with six, Arihus Coleman with four and Mohammed Ahmad-Gold and Brandon Branscomb with three points apiece.