In a tense, thrilling and exhausting toe-to-toe double-overtime donnybrook, Broken Bow landed the final punch and knocked Boone Central/Newman Grove from the 2018 Nebraska Boys State Basketball Tournament with a 66-64 first-round victory at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln.
After neither team could open a lead of more than two points over the final 6:25 of the fourth quarter and the first six-plus minutes of the extra periods, Broken Bow gained a four-point edge on back-to-back baskets by Grayson Garey and Padyn Borders with 1:20 remaining in the second overtime.
Boone Central/Newman Grove closed to within one when junior Carter Henry splashed a long 3-point shot, and Tanner Linn gave Bow a two-point lead by sinking one of-two free throws with 1.6 seconds on the clock.
BC/NG, needing to go the length of the court following a time out, inbounded to the front court and called a second time out to stop the clock at 0.8 seconds. Will Frey was able to get one final shot at the win, but his rushed catch-and-fire 3-point attempt missed to the left.
It was Boone Central/Newman Grove’s second last-second shot at the victory, and fourth try overall. Dylan Gentrup’s contested corner three was off-target at the end of regulation and teammate Cody Nelson had a clean tip of another Gentrup 3-point miss that bounced out at the first-overtime buzzer.
“I’m not sure how Cody’s tip didn’t fall,” Cardinal Coach Justin Harris said later.
Harris was happy with his team’s execution in that situation.
“We had a great look. It just didn’t fall,” he said of Gentrup’s 3-point attempt from the right side of the key. “We had a good tip too, and it didn’t fall either.”
Although Broken Bow was the Class C1 #3 seed, 6th-seeded Boone Central/Newman Grove had previously handed the Indians two of their three losses – once in the regular season and, again, in the C1-6 Sub-District tournament.
In the early going, it looked like the Cardinals would make it three in a row.
Nelson swished a trio of 3-pointers in the first quarter, the third giving BC/NG a 21-9 lead. Broken Bow, which qualified for the state tourney as a wild card, closed the gap during a three-minute, second-period drought by the Cardinals.
Henry’s 3-pointer and ensuing short jump shot restored a 29-20 advantage and Boone Central/Newman Grove took a 31-22 lead to halftime following Jessie Sullivan’s baseline drive.
BC/NG maintained a 40-33 lead after Gentrup’s drive and Henry’s 3-pointer midway through the third quarter, but Broken Bow followed with an 8-1 run – sparked by 3-pointers by Linn and Garey – to knot the score at 41-41 with 3:20 to play in the period. Gentrup responded with a 3-point field goal and driving bucket, as Boone Central/Newman Grove carried a 46-43 edge into the final stanza.
From there, it was like two boxers slugging away, trading blow after blow.
Henry put BC/NG on top 53-51 with a baseline drive and Borders forged another tie with free throws at the 1:59 mark. Sullivan blocked a Borders attempt as the clock ticked past one minute to play and BC/NG played for a final shot, which resulted in Gentrup’s tough 3-point look from the corner.
Frey answered a Garey bucket with his own bank shot in the first overtime, tieing the score at 57-57 with :58 remaining. The Cardinals again rejected a Borders shot and again played for a final shot. Following a time out with 13.6 seconds to play, Gentrup and Nelson came up agonizingly empty.
That set up the final sequence in the second overtime period, and disappointment for Boone Central/Newman Grove.
See further details in the March 14 Print & Online edition of the Albion News