COPLEY TWP . — Copley’s overtime buzzer beater to beat Wadsworth’s boys basketball team was either controlled or chaotic.
It depended on who you talked to Friday after Daniel Ester hit a layup as time expired to lift the Indians to a 70-68 Suburban League win.
Grizzlies guard Anthony Palecek (11 points) had just hit a mid-range jump shot with 10 seconds left to bring the game even at 68, but a heady Copley squad inbounded the ball and when Larry Spear kicked it inside to Ester, the gym erupted.
“It’s the chaos of the game,” Wadsworth coach Mike Schmeltzer Jr. said. “You have athletic kids with a full head of steam and we didn’t contain the ball. We let it get too deep, and they finished it.”
While the play wasn’t scripted, the nuts and bolts were thought up by the Indians (1-7, 1-3) during a timeout by the Grizzlies (4-3, 2-2) with 13.8 seconds left. After Wadsworth tied it, Copley pushed the ball quickly before Ester scored his only two points of the night.
“We talked during the timeout about the scenario if they scored and tied the game,” Indians coach Mike Dente said. “We talked about, ‘What would we do?’
“We knew we had no timeouts. I told Connor (Huth) and Larry to make sure they got to the basket. We wanted a layup and not a jump shot. We got dribble penetration on the wing, dumped it into Ester and Ester finished it. It’s a huge win for us.”
It was an even bigger loss for the Grizzlies, who had to battle back. Down 16 in the first quarter, Wadsworth looked to big man Kyle Prunty (30 points, 12 rebounds).
A 10-0 run at the end of the quarter and 10-4 spurt to close the second made it 39-36 at the break. Prunty had 23 points and 10 boards at halftime.
The Grizzlies took their first lead near the start of the third quarter and survived a fourth quarter with six lead changes. They actually had a chance to win in regulation after calling a timeout with 26.2 left and got the ball into Prunty, but a layup at the buzzer hit iron.
Brandon Chillious, who had a career-high 21 points, hit a bucket with 1:09 left in overtime to make it 67-66 Copley and a player control foul on Prunty could have given the Indians at least a three-point lead, but Todd Williams split a pair of free throws to set up the wild finish.
“Tonight’s game came down to two things: Our inability to stop dribble penetration and free throws (Wadsworth was 13-of-25 from the line),” Schmeltzer said. “We have to get better at those two things if we’re going to win. It’s a learning experience.
“There were young guys who got some big minutes. I’m proud of the way the kids battled back. To start down 16 to a very athletic team, we fought, but they found a way to win.”
With Huth (career-high 17 points) back from injury for the first time since the opener and the Indians pulling out some last-second heroics, they plan on building the rest of the way in what has been a season of just-missed losses so far.
“It was wild and it was our first win,” Ester said. “Things will only go up from here. This is monumental.”
|Copley’s junior varsity erased a seven-point deficit to start the fourth quarter and remained undefeated with a 48-43 win. Ben Bingham led the way for the Grizzlies with 10 points.|
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copley 70, Wadsworth 68 (OT)
WADSWORTH 16 20 12 16 4 — 68
COPLEY 22 17 12 13 6 — 70
Wadsworth — Austin White 3-3-9, Joel Kipfer 2-1-6, Kyle Prunty 12-6-30, Anthony Palecek 4-2-11, Patrick Long 1-0-2, Jimmy Elchlinger 0-0-0, Barry Fernholz 0-0-0, Nick Hewitt 3-1-8, Tyson Heideman 1-0-2. TOTALS: 26-13-68.
Copley — Brandon Chillious 7-7-21, Todd Williams 4-4-12, Justin Hovorka 2-0-4, Larnell Nealy 0-0-0, Conner Huth 5-4-17, Larry Spear 4-0-10, Daniel Ester 1-0-2, Will Andrew 1-1-4, Bryce Harvey 0-0-0, Will Thomas 0-0-0. TOTALS: 24-16-70.
3-point goals — Palecek, Kipfer, Hewitt, Huth 3, Spear 2, Andrew. Rebounds — Wadsworth 34 (Prunty 12), Copley 22 (Hovorka 5). Assists — Wadsworth 14 (White 5), Copley 16 (Nealy 4). Records — Wadsworth (4-3, 2-2), Copley (1-7, 1-3). Junior varsity — Copley 48, Wadsworth 43.