By BRIAN DULIK
EATON TWP. â€” Scott Kimmey isnâ€™t the marquee player on Olmsted Fallsâ€™ boys basketball team, but he deserves to have his name up in lights.
The junior forward scored on a putback with four seconds left in double overtime on Thursday night, lifting the Bulldogs to a 62-61 upset of top seed Brunswick in the Grafton Midview Division I District semifinals.
Kimmeyâ€™s game-winner came on a 6-footer in the lane that barely cleared the rim before finding its way through. He had missed an 8-footer seconds earlier, but came down with the offensive rebound in traffic to set up the biggest basket of his career.
â€œI think the whole Olmsted Falls fan section exhaled to give the ball the little extra it needed to get to the hoop,â€ exuberant Bulldogs coach Pat Donahue said. â€œScott said in the huddle right before that play, â€˜Letâ€™s win districts,â€™ but obviously we had to win this game first.
â€œWhat you do know? He went hard to the boards and did a great job making it happen.â€
Kimmeyâ€™s hoop provided the fourth and final lead change in double-OT â€” a period that saw Olmsted Falls (16-7) go up 60-55 with 57 seconds left before Tyler Ferrell and Bill Slattery answered with baskets for Brunswick (16-6).
Senior swingman Joe Puch then put the Blue Devils ahead 61-60 on a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left, but that proved to more than long enough for the Bulldogs to grab the win.
Brunswick did get off a final shot, but Bob Ritchieâ€™s running 25-footer hit the left side of the iron as time expired. The Blue Devils earlier had an opportunity to move on at the end of regulation, only to have Olmsted Falls shut the door tied at 48-48.
â€œAny time you lose in the tournament, itâ€™s hard, but this is a very tough way to go down,â€ coach Joe Mackey said outside an emotional Brunswick locker room. â€œGive both teams credit for playing a great game. We had our chances and so did they â€” many times over â€” but I guess it just wasnâ€™t in the cards for us.â€
Brunswickâ€™s players took the loss especially hard, seeing as they had legitimate hopes of reaching regionals for the second time in school history.
Puch (17 points, 6 rebounds, career-high 5 assists, 2 blocks) and Ritchie (10 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists) led by example throughout, while fellow seniors Jassen Kavedzic, Dan Kissling and Ryan Pokorny each contributed key hoops during the 105-minute epic.
Blue Devils junior Alex Lukic (9 points, 6 rebounds) also was up to the challenge, teaming with sophomore Tyler Ferrell (9 points, 6 rebounds, 5 blocks) to largely negate Olmsted Falls standout center Pat Pellerite.
The 6-foot-4 Pellerite fouled out late in regulation with 14 points, five rebounds and a game-high seven turnovers.
â€œWeâ€™re used to playing without Pat because he picks up a lot of fouls, so the kids donâ€™t panic,â€ said Donahue, whose team has won 11 games in a row. â€œIt just came down to big players hitting big shots from there.â€
Kimmey (game-high 19 points) and top guard Jim Brabenec (11 points, 4 assists) took the baton from Pellerite and combined for seven of the Bulldogsâ€™ 14 points in the two OT sessions.
With 1:05 left in the first OT, Brabenec split two free throws to give Olmsted Falls a 53-50 advantage. Brunswick, though, responded with a defensive stop that led to Puchâ€™s 24-foot three on the break with 10 ticks remaining.
The Bulldogs, remarkably, got off four point-blank shots in the remaining time, but Ferrell blocked two of them and the others were off the mark, setting the stage for double-OT â€” and a seventh straight district semifinal loss for Brunswick.
â€œWe gave it our all tonight,â€ Puch said. â€œIt just came down to one basket, one pass or one rebound at the end for both teams.
â€œI know someone has to win and someone has to lose in every tournament game, but this was a tough way to end it for us.â€
Indeed it was, because as Donahue put it, â€œThis was a great game to watch if you had no rooting interest. As it turned out, our fans think itâ€™s the greatest game in the history of basketball, and Brunswickâ€™s fans think it was terrible.â€
The Blue Devils wound up outshooting (45 percent to 41) and outrebounding (29-27) their foes, yet it still wasnâ€™t enough to earn a rubber match with Elyria in the district championship game.
â€œThis is going to take some time to get over,â€ Mackey said. â€œThatâ€™s why I didnâ€™t say much to the kids afterward because I knew they wouldnâ€™t hear it with how upset they are.
â€œThey know I love every one of them and we had a very good season, but Iâ€™ll save all of that for the banquet. It was a tough night.â€
Dulik may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-721-4059.