By Rob Potter
ROSCOE January 5, 2001 Though they currently play in separate divisions of the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA), the Eldred Yellow Jackets and Roscoe Blue Devils Tuesday night competed like the former Western Sullivan League foes they were for decades.
In a contest that featured numerous lead changes, a host of clutch hoops and coaches and fans sitting on the edges of their seats, host Roscoe (44) held on for a 66-64 overtime victory.
A three-point shot by Roscoes Shawn Hendrickson with one minute remaining in the overtime period gave the Blue Devils a 66-62 lead. Ten seconds later, however, Eldreds Ryan Jasper scored inside to make it a two-point game.
But the Yellow Jackets could not score the tying bucket in the last fifty seconds. An Eldred shot with three ticks left on the clock fell off the rim and Roscoes Brian Bury grabbed the rebound as the clock apparently ran out and the Roscoe players and fans began celebrating the win.
The officials ruled, however, that an Eldred player had fouled Bury with one second left in the contest. Because Roscoe was not yet in the bonus situation to shoot foul shots after every foul committed by Eldred, the Blue Devils had to inbound the ball. The inbound pass then bounced off a couple of players while the second elapsed, officially giving Roscoe the win.
Roscoe played hard, Eldred coach Charlie Donnelly said. They played great the whole game, they didnt take one play off. Roscoe played the entire 36 minutes and that was the difference.
Eldred (42) had an opportunity to take the lead in the final seconds of regulation. But on back-to-back plays in the final ten seconds, the Yellow Jackets were denied. First, Brian Bury blocked a Jasper shot attempt and then Curt Schwarz rejected Tom Butlers jump shot.
After regaining possession of the ball and taking a timeout with five seconds left in that fourth quarter, Eldred had one last shot. But that attempt did not fall through the net and the buzzer sounded before either squad could fire the ball towards its respective hoop.
Roscoe Coach Fred Ahart pointed to his teams balanced scoring attack as one of the keys to victory.
Balanced scoring is very important, he said. When your have a few guys putting the ball in the basket, its big.
Hendrickson, who swished four three-point bombs in the game, finished with a game-high 19 points. Joining him in reaching double-figures were teammates Brian Ballard (14 points), Brian Bury (14 points) and Jeff Bury (10 points). In addition, Brian Bury grabbed 12 rebounds, Schwarz had nine rebounds and Ballard and Jeff Bury each dished out eight assists.
Those two three-point shots by Hendrickson in overtime were certainly key, Ahart said of Hendricksons buckets that gave the Blue Devils 61-60 and 66-62 leads at the 2:35 and 1:00 marks, respectively, of the extra stanza. And we played good defense tonight.
Another key in the game was foul shooting, as Eldred made just over half of its free throws. The Yellow Jackets were 13-for-24 at the line. (Roscoe went only 5-of-12 at the charity stripe.)
Ahart also praised the performance of the Eldred coach and team.
They really made us work for it and thats a credit to Charlie (Donnelly) and his team, Ahart explained. We definitely had to work for every shot tonight.
Donnelly noted how successful the Blue Devils were in getting open looks and scoring the key baskets they needed.
Roscoe deserves all the credit in the world, Donnelly said. They didnt give up for even one play, they played hard the whole game. Thats what winning teams do and thats certainly what they did tonight.
Jasper led all Eldred scores with 16 points on the night. Joe Scully had 15 points and Butler recorded 12 points. Eric Milisauskas added 11 points, including a pair of successful three-point shots.