For four quarters on Friday night at Waubonsie Valley, neither the Warriors nor Metea Valley could take control of this game.
That was until overtime, and then it was all Warriors.
More specifically, it was Warrior senior guard Nick Karkazis, who scored 11 of his game-high 25 points in the extra time to boost his team to a 65-59 victory.
“It was our third overtime. We knew what to do. We practice free throws and that’s what it came down to in OT,” Karkazis said.
The Warriors hit 13 of 16 free throws in the extra time to improve to 17-7 overall and 8-3 in the Upstate Eight Valley. Karkazis finished the evening 10 of 11 from the free-throw line.
The Warriors had a 44-39 lead after Jay DeHaan, who finished with 19 points, hit for a 2-pointer with 3:36 left in regulation. Marquell Oliver, who led the Mustangs (14-11, 6-5) with 16 points, scored the next two baskets with the last one pulling his team to within 44-43 with 2:25 remaining.
About 22 seconds later Metea sophomore Matt Helwig sank two free throws to give Metea a 45-44 advantage. The scoring took a break until after a Waubonsie timeout with 52.8 seconds left.
DeHaan made a nice maneuver in traffic under the net for a layup and a 46-45 Waubonsie lead.
The clock went down to 13.7 seconds when Mark Konkle, who finished with 12 points, hit a free throw that tied the contest and sent into overtime. Konkle scored Metea’s first basket of the overtime to tie the game at 48, and then the Warriors answered with an 8-0 run. The Warriors’ pushed their lead to 9 on a free throw from Logan Yanisch with 44.7 seconds remaining.
The Mustangs wouldn’t go away easily as a Nick Dodson 3-pointer and two free throws from Konkle pulled Metea to within 63-59 with just less than 26 seconds remaining.
Dodson finished with 15 points. Neither team had a strong night free-throw shooting. Waubonsie was 21 of 31 while Metea was 15 of 29.
Waubonsie coach Chaz Taft complemented Andrew Martin, who didn’t get into the game until overtime, but his basket gave the Warriors a 50-48 advantage and the team started to build up momentum that it kept.
Metea won the first game between the teams 71-47 in late December. Taft said his team being more experienced and playing strong defense in especially crucial moments was key to winning the rematch.
“It’s a growth thing, and our defense shut down the gaps in crunch time,” he said.