Foul line helps Wilson beats Rayen in overtime
The Tigers had two chances in the waning secondsof regulation.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- City Series boys basketball is alive and well. Wilson and Rayen can attest to that.
In a frenzied finish that had the capacity crowd at Rayen High spilling onto the floor even before the game had ended, Wilson defeated the Tigers 66-61 in overtime for its second City Series victory.
"I was looking forward to this," Wilson coach Mark Cherol said. "Rayen-Wilson has been a big rivalry the last few years."
As it did throughout the game, Wilson (5-4, 2-0) dominated from the free throw line in overtime to seal the win.
The Redmen made 14-of-20 from the line in overtime and 27-of-38 for the game. Rayen (2-7, 0-1) went to the line just 11 times for the game and made five.
"I told them to be aggressive, try to attack and draw fouls," said Cherol, adding that his team has been "hot and cold" this season from the line.
Bonus for Redmen: "We knew we had them in foul trouble," Wilson senior Ellis Moody said. "We knew we'd be shooting two [free throws on each foul], so we just kept going to the hole."
Rayen rallied from a seven-point deficit and a dismal shooting display in the third quarter to take a 48-47 lead with 3 minutes, 41 seconds remaining in regulation.
Justin Underwood scored off a brilliant spin move in the lane for Rayen's first lead since early in the second quarter.
The fun was just beginning.
"It was a typical City Series game -- hard-fought battle down to the end," Rayen coach Phil House said.
After Moody's free throw with 2:02 remaining tied the score, Jamal Higgs grabbed the ball following a scramble and scored for Rayen's 50-48 lead.
Moody, who scored a team-high 18 points, came up big again for Wilson, getting a loose ball near midcourt and smoothly sinking a jumper for another tie with 32 seconds remaining.
"Once I got it, I knew I had to score because the time was running down," Moody said. "I just put the shot up. I saw the form was perfect, and it went down for me."
Cherol said of Moody, "He's a senior, so we expect good things out of him this year. He's the kind of kid that when he gets hot, look out."
Order on the court: Fans spilled onto part of the court during a celebration with 20 seconds to play. Officials had to halt play while attempting to restrain order in the high-intensity environment.
Rayen had two chances in the waning seconds of regulation, but one shot was well off, another blocked as the buzzer sounded.
"We made a couple of crucial mistakes at the end of the game," House said. "At the end of regulation, we had a couple turnovers. In overtime, we missed a couple key shots."
If it wasn't for the Tigers' full-court pressure defense in the second half, they may have never forced overtime. They made just four of 21 field goals in the third quarter.
"We went cold," House said. "[The shots] just wouldn't go down."
Wilson struggled to maintain its composure against Rayen's pressure, turning the ball over 14 times in the second half -- 23 for the game -- and giving the Tigers additional opportunities.
"That's been our nemesis all year, the full-court press," Cherol said. "We made a couple of miscues and got them back in the game. I think that was the turning point for Rayen."
House said, "We had a more aggressive approach in the third quarter [on defense] and we picked our intensity up a little bit more."
Top Redmen: Randall Poindexter scored 14 points for Wilson, while Antwaun Johnson added 11.
William Jones led Rayen with a game-high 21 points.