Trailing by 5 points in overtime, the Metea Valley boys basketball team got a huge boost from Marquell Oliver in the Mustangs' rematch against South Elgin.
The Mustangs, who won the first game between the Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division teams, got 12 points from Oliver in the extra period to earn a 68-64 win on Friday night in South Elgin. Metea Valley (12-8, 4-4) has now won 4 of its last 5 games, and Oliver finished with a game-high 24 points.
"He's been our go-to guy all year," said Mustangs' coach Bob Vozza. "When we went down 5 in OT things didn't look good, but he's an emotional player who feeds off his emotions. He did what he had to do in the clutch."
After a wild finish in regulation and the game tied at 54-54, the Storm (10-9, 3-5) got a 3-pointer from Matt McClure (12 points, 5 rebounds) and a layup from Justin Howard (10 points) over the first minute of OT to take a 59-54 lead.
Oliver then hit a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer to tie it, and after a Matthew Smith (17 points, 8 rebounds) bucket gave South Elgin the 61-59 lead a putback from Mark Konkle (8 points, 10 rebounds) tied it again with 1:08 left on the clock.
With 41.4 seconds left in the game, Oliver completed a three-point play to give the Mustangs the lead for good and he added 4 more free throws to seal the win. Oliver, who added 5 rebounds in the game, went 7-for-7 at the line in OT and 11-for-11 in the game.
"Hard work and dedication," Oliver said of how his team won. "We deserved it. From the first guy to the last guy on the team, we practice hard every day and play with heart."
The game saw both teams have momentum at different times. Tyler Hankins (14 points, 13 rebounds) scored 8 points in the first quarter as the Storm grabbed a 19-12 lead, and they led by 10 early in the second.
Metea Valley rallied back in the second quarter as Matt Helwig came off the bench and hit 3 3s in the period, and the Mustangs led 30-24 at halftime.
The game was tight throughout the second half, and Bryson Oliver (8 points) had a game-winning shot attempt for Metea Valley which was rebounded by Smith, who was fouled at the buzzer.
Smith went to the line in the bonus for the Storm but missed the shot sending the game to OT. As a team, South Elgin was 8-for-17 at the line.
"There were a lot of plays that determined who won and who lost," said Storm coach Matt Petersen. "That was just one free throw."
Petersen added: "Matt's a reliable player and a great free throw shooter. That was not the norm."
Justin Kuehn had 6 points and 11 rebounds and Nick Dodson 7 points and 6 rebounds for Metea Valley.