Our Savior New American beats Pierre 84-80 in OT thriller
It was a stunning end to the 2012 Mike Miller Classic Saturday when Pierre matched up with Our Savior New American, a team from Centereach, N.Y.
In a nail-biting, overtime-thriller, Our Savior defeated Pierre 84-80 in a game that was likely the most entertaining of the three-day classic.
"It was a lot of fun to play a team like that who has a lot of good basketball players and it's great experience for us," Pierre head coach Terry Becker said after the game near his team's locker room in the Corn Palace in Mitchell. "Obviously we want to win, but I think the message got through to our kids that we need to take care of a lot of little things, and then we will come out on top in these types of games."
Pierre's Cooper Walton hit a floater as time expired in regulation, a possible controversial shot, to send the game to overtime, where the Governors couldn't keep up with the more powerful Our Savior offense.
Walton's shot came when the Governors inbounded the ball with 5.4 seconds left in regulation despite the play not being drawn up for the 6-foot-6 junior. After the inbound, the ball was loose on the floor, but eventually found its way into Walton's hand in time for his big shot.
Replays of the shot were inconclusive, but it looked as if the ball possibly was still on Walton's fingertips after the horn sounded.
"Those are the type of shots that make high school basketball fun," Becker said.
In overtime, Our Savior New American took the lead on a layup by Michael Nzei and sealed its victory by going 7-of-8 from the free-throw line.
"I am glad all the fans who came had an interesting game to watch to conclude a real nice weekend of basketball," Our Savior New American head coach Ron Seltzer said.
Our Savior New American trailed by as many as nine points in the first half but chipped away at the Pierre lead and pulled back even behind the hot shooting hand of Cheick Sy-Savane.
The senior guard drained four 3-pointers to tally 16 points in the first half to help give his team a 41-40 advantage at the break.
Our Savior New American pushed its lead to 14 points early in the second half on an 11-2 run, highlighted by two quick layups set up by forced turnovers.
After a timeout by Becker, Pierre responded with its own run. The Governors outscored Our Savior 12-2 to tie the game at 54.
Both teams traded buckets until Our Savior New American seemed to take control after back-to-back buckets from Cheick Diallo, who finished the game with 22 points. Then, Djibril Diallo gave his team a 73-69 lead with less than a minute to go.
But the Governors once again rallied, starting with a layup from Zach Hanson to pull within two. Hanson recorded a double-double and scored a game-high 30 points. Lane Severyn also recorded a double-double for Pierre with 25 points and 13 rebounds.
After a missed jump shot by Our Savior American's Nzei, Pierre got the shot from Walton, sending the game to extra minutes.