Red Bay falls short in 3OT
RED BAY — The Red Bay Tigers boys varsity basketball team has had a penchant for playing good, close games lately, and their 71-62 loss to Colbert Heights Thursday night was no exception.
The two teams were never separated on the scoreboard by more than nine points during regulation. The gap was never bigger than four points after the first quarter in regulation.
And it took three overtime periods for a winner to be decided between the 2A area opponents.
“This was a good game,” Red Bay head coach Greg Cash said. “We’ve had two overtime losses in a row now, and it’s hard to play three overtimes. They just made more shots than we did at the end.”
The Tigers jumped out to a 10-1 lead by the midpoint of the first quarter, but the game would be much closer from that point to the end of the second overtime.
Red Bay led 10-7 at the end of the first quarter, but Colbert Heights went ahead 11-10 after a small run early in the second.
Red Bay would trail for the rest of the period, but only by one point at 24-23 by the halftime break.
Midway through the third period the Tigers took their first lead in several minutes at 30-28, and that lead was 34-30 by the end of the third.
After such a close contest, the fourth quarter was sure to not disappoint, and no one left the gym that night feeling like they had not seen a great game.
The Wildcats tied the game at 36-36 early in the fourth before going ahead 38-36.
A 3-pointer by Michael Ramirez put the Tigers back up by one, and the two teams proceeded to swap six layups that made the score 45-44 in Red Bay’s favor.
Barry Reach, Kyle Fuller and Levi Humphres made layups for the Tigers in that time, and Reach and Ramirez allowed two of those by making steals.
Ramirez was fouled a short time later and buried both free throws on a one-and-one trip to the line, putting the Tigers up 47-44.
Colbert Heights had one last chance with the ball with just 12 seconds left on the clock.
Kaleb Suggs for Colbert Heights had been big for his team all night, and the last shot of regulation would be his.
Ramirez was responsible for covering Suggs, and the Tiger player made sure there would be no open shot to be had.
Just before the clock expired Suggs made a short jump left and away from Ramirez. The shot was rushed, guarded, off-balance and in desperation, but the ball hit off the front of the rim, hit the backboard and fell back through the hoop.
The game was tied at 47-47 at the end of regulation and headed to overtime.
The first overtime period witnessed both teams remain hot on offense.
In the four-minute added period neither team missed a single field goal or free throw, and once again the teams were tied 55-55 as the buzzer sounded.
Colbert Heights started out the second overtime period by going ahead with a free throw at 56-55.
Despite how both teams’ offenses played in the first overtime, defense was the name of the game in the next four minutes of play.
The teams scored only four points apiece in double overtime.
Humphres hit two free throws after being fouled and a steal and assist by Austin Thorn allowed a layup by Humphres that put Red Bay up 59-56 with time winding down, but once again a trey by the Wildcats extended the game.
The third overtime saw both teams fatiguing badly. One Wildcats player fell to the court with a cramping leg in the period, and two others took an opportunity to work at their calves during a break for two foul shots.
A pair of Colbert Heights’ layups forced Red Bay to start fouling their opponent to extend the game, but the Wildcats hit eight free throws to finally ice the game.
The final score of 71-62 made the game look as if it had not been that close, but that score line is very deceiving and in no way indicative of the caliber of game that all in attendance had just witnessed.
The game had no effect on Red Bay’s area tournament seeding, but the team played as hard as they could to win all the same.
“This game was not about the win/loss column,” Cash said. “The team wanted to win and they played hard. The players just ran out of gas.”
Ramirez led Red Bay in points with 23 on the night. Humphres had 19 and Reach amassed 15.
Also scoring for the Tigers were Bradley Brooks (3), Thorn (2) and Fuller (2).
—stats kept by Jeremy Reed