The Olentangy boys basketball team needed two three-pointers – each with a high degree of difficulty – to earn its first OCC-Buckeye win, 75-74 in overtime at rival Olentangy Orange to open up the new year Friday night in Lewis Center.
“If this is the way it’s going to be every time we win a league game – it’s going to be a long season,” Olentangy coach John Feasel said. “I knew we had to play four great quarters of basketball. (Tonight), we had to play four and a half actually.”
Adam Wiff’s skip pass to Alex Sieve was deflected, but not far enough away. Sieve collected it in the right corner and fading left sunk the go-ahead three-pointer with 2.3 seconds left in overtime.
“It was crazy,” Sieve said. “I was open calling for the ball and Adam slung it cross-court and it got tipped. Honestly, I didn’t think (the shot) was going in because I was fading away. It was crazy. All we wanted to do was get the W … we fought hard and we deserved this.”
Sieve wouldn’t have gotten a chance had Sean Marks not banked in a buzzer-beater to tie it 67-67 to send it to overtime.
“The two shots they hit were super-tough shots,” Orange coach Anthony Calo said. “When the game got tight – they did what they do best. You’ve gotta give their kids credit for hitting tough pressure shots.”
Marks and Sieve each hit three threes in the game for Olentangy (6-4, 1-3). Marks used a 9-for-10 effort at the foul line to help him to a game-high 31 points.
“Every time he scores 30 or more – we win,” Feasel said. “He hit a big shot. It’s not because it’s luck – it’s because he shoots a lot of them … Sieve too. They practice a lot of threes.”
Jerred Kinnaird had 17 points and Sieve chipped in 11 for Olentangy.
“We made some plays down the stretch,” Feasel said. “That’s what’s got to happen … guys have to make plays.”
He hit his other two threes as a part of a 9-2 run in the second quarter that helped Olentangy create some distance on its way to a 33-24 halftime lead.
But, Orange responded in the third with a pair of Luke Ballinger threes, a third by Matt McCollum and a McCollum three-point play that tied it 38-38.
But, Olentangy responded with four quick points on a Kinnaird basket and two Marks free throws and led 42-38 with 3:01 left in the third. Olentangy led 46-43 through three.
Bryson Lane tied it with three-pointer to open the fourth, but Olentangy again responded with four quick points.
Austin Brown’s three gave Olentangy a five-point lead midway through the fourth.
“They shoot the ball really well … that’s what they do,” Calo said. “They hit some big shots down the stretch … they stayed true to their form.”
But, Orange fought back again. Ballinger knocked down the tying three with 2:47 left and a Jalen Bethel and-one finally gave the Pioneers the lead at 65-64 with 1:31 left. Bethel was key down the stretch, scoring 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.
Olentangy cut it to one on a Wiff drive-and-score before two Lane free throws set up Marks’ tying bank-shot.
Manny Anderson’s steal-and-score gave Orange a 74-72 edge in the final 20 seconds of overtime before Sieve knocked down the game-winner. Anderson scored six of his 11 points in the overtime period to lead the Pioneers.
Feasel chose not to call a timeout to set up a play on his team’s final possession.
“You can call timeout and set up a play or you can just let it flow,” Feasel said. “Sometimes in the flow people get lost – like Sieve got lost there in the corner.”
McCollum had 20 points and Ballinger finished with 17 on the strength of five threes to lead Orange (9-3, 2-2).
“We can shoot too and it got pretty fun for a while – I thought we were going to win a fun one,” Calo said. “It’s like elation or devastation … and they hit one more shot than we did and we went from elation to devastation pretty quick.”
Both teams take on non-league competition next. Olentangy is right back at it tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Dublin Coffman while Orange hosts Hilliard Davidson Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.