NEW PARIS – For the second time in two weeks, National Trail and Twin Valley South’s boys’ basketball teams had to play overtime to determine a winner.
And for the second time, National Trail came out on top, this time rallying from an 8-point fourth quarter deficit for a 58-55 win on Friday, Dec. 16, in New Paris.
The two teams met on Saturday, Dec. 3, in the consolation of game of the Twin Valley South Tip-Off Tournament, with the Blazers claiming a 59-53 win in triple overtime.
“We’ve seen a lot of each other this year already and they’ve been great ball games. I’ve got a ton of respect for their program. It’s fun. It’s fun to be in a battle. Obviously, I’m sitting here with a little more joy that it went our way these two times. Both of them could have gone the other way just as much,” Trail coach Mike Harrison said.
Blazer senior Peyton Harrison paced Trail with a team-high 22 points, including six 3-pointers. Dalton Mason added 14 points, including making a baseline jumper with three seconds left in regulation to force the overtime.
Twin Valley South’s Mike Meyers led all scorers with 24 points, but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter and overtime.
At times, it looked as if both teams had control of the game.
Trail jumped out to a 16-7 lead after the first quarter, as Harrison tallied eight points. Trail extended its lead to as many as 12 points in the second quarter at 29-17 before South made a run in the final two minutes to close the gap to 35-27 at halftime.
The Panthers carried that momentum into the third quarter as they opened with a 9-0 run to take its first lead of the game at 36-35. South built its lead to 48-43 by end of the third.
South still led by eight, 53-45, with just over three minutes left in the game, but Trail closed out the quarter on an 8-0 run to force overtime at 53-53.
“We played a quarter and a half of the best basketball we’ve played all year long in the third quarter and the first part of the fourth quarter. We really did — we put ourselves in position to be able to go and win the game,” Twin Valley South coach Tony Augspurger said.
In the OT, South scored first on a pair of free throws at the 3:37 mark, but didn’t score again. Travis Hunt, who finished with eight points for Trail, knocked down a 3-pointer with 2:18 left and Mason added a layup off a fast break at 1:12 for the final points of the game.
It was the third overtime loss of the year for South, now 1-4 overall and 1-1 in the Cross County Conference.
The Panthers were scheduled to play Miami East on Tuesday, Dec. 20 and host Covington on Friday, Dec. 23.
Trail (3-2, 2-0 CCC) was scheduled to play Tri-County North on Tuesday and will host Randolph Southern (Ind.) on Friday.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.