3/4/2014 2:08:00 PM Panthers beat Cisne in OT to claim title Oblong wins 3rd straight regional championship with 57-50 win Friday
Oblong High School’s boys’ basketball team celebrates its third straight regional championship Friday night after winning the Class 1A Edwards County Regional with a 57-50 overtime win over Cisne. The Panthers advance to play Effingham St. Anthony in the Red Hill Sectional Tuesday at 7 p.m. (Josh Brown photo)
Punch, counter-punch was the theme for Friday night's Class 1A Edwards County Regional championship game between two seemingly even-matched teams.
In fact, four quarters of basketball was not enough to settle things in the back and forth contest.
However, Oblong High School's boys' basketball team was able to deliver the knockout blow in overtime, as they outlasted Cisne, 57-50, to claim their third straight regional crown.
"Winning these isn't getting any easier, that's for sure," OHS head coach Brent Harper said. "We definitely didn't make it easy on ourselves, either. These boys like to keep you on the edge of your seat."
After playing poorly at the end of the regular season and for nearly three quarters in Wednesday's night's semifinal win over Louisville-North Clay, Oblong actually played pretty solid basketball Friday night. However, Cisne was able to match the Panthers' effort for much of the night.
Oblong got out to a quick 4-0 lead on a free throw by Jared Mayhew and a three-pointer by Dawson Maus, before a jumper by Cisne's 6-6 Norwegian center Nik Kambestad got the Runnin' Lions on the board at the 5:42 mark of the first quarter. Mayhew followed with a putback for a 6-2 lead before two Cisne baskets evened the score with 4:10 to play. Martin Spaeth answered with back-to-back three-pointers to give Oblong a 12-6 lead, but Cisne scored the last four points of the period to make the score 12-10 after the first eight minutes.
Koert Mehler would bank in a shot from the free throw line to start a 6-2 OHS spurt at the start of the second quarter, which would give the Panthers an 18-12 lead with 5:44 left in the half. Cisne would get to within two on a couple of occasions, but Oblong would take a 23-20 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Panthers appeared poised to take control in the third quarter, as baskets by Mayhew and Mehler and a three-pointer by Maus pushed the OHS lead to 30-20 with 5:45 remaining, then after a basket by Cisne, Maus drained another three-pointer to make the score 33-22 with 4:15 left. However, Cisne would score the final nine points of the period to close the gap to 33-31 heading into the fourth quarter.
The run continued into the fourth, as Cisne's Logan Hosick hit a three-pointer with 7:40 to go, giving them their first lead of the game at 34-33. After a free throw by Mayhew tied the game, the teams alternated baskets until Oblong got two baskets from Mayhew and another from Mehler to take a 42-38 lead with 4:05 remaining. However, Oblong would have another dry spell late in the period, which allowed Cisne to mount another comeback. Hosick would hit a three-pointer to make the score 42-41 with 1:52 left, then after Maus missed the front end of a one-and-bonus at the free throw line with 1:20 to play, Hosick drained another three-pointer with 1:03 left to give Cisne a 44-42 lead.
Oblong would answer back, as Mehler took a feed from Michael Brown on the baseline and score with 46 seconds left to tie the game at 44-44. Cisne would hold for the last shot, but Oblong's defense forced a long, off-balance three-point attempt by Hosick that was off the mark and the game went to overtime.
"We took some bad shots down the stretch when we needed to get the ball inside more," Harper said. "But, we have been down late in both games in this tournament. The boys didn't get rattled and knew they could come back. We knew they were going to go to (Hosick) on the last play and we wanted to take him out of it and make someone else beat us and we did a good job defending him."
It was all Oblong in the extra session, as they outscored Cisne 13-6 to pull away for the win.
Mehler got the ball inside for a hoop and was fouled, but he missed the free throw. However, Mayhew was able to snag the rebound and put it back in for a 48-44 lead with 3:27 to play. Kambestad would score inside, then added a free throw to close the gap to 48-47 with 2:30 left, but Oblong was able to hold them off. Brown would drive in for a layup on the next possession, then made a steal on the other end on the next trip down the floor and added a free throw with 1:03 left to push the OHS lead to 51-47. After struggling at the free throw line throughout the game, Oblong was able to make six straight in the final 36 seconds to push the lead to 57-47. Hosick would throw in a three-pointer with five seconds left to reach the final margin, but it was not enough, as the Panthers celebrated their third straight regional title.
"We said from Day 1 that we were talented enough to win another regional," Harper said. "But, we also knew it wasn't going to be easy. "We battled to get it to overtime, then we got a couple of quick scores, settled down and played well. The last couple of games we have figured out how to turn on the switch an find a way to get it done."
The two teams were close in nearly all statistical categories, but Oblong managed a slight edge in most of them. The Panthers made 21-56 field goal attempts (38 percent), including 15-36 from two-point range (42 percent) and 6-20 from three-point range (30 percent), while Cisne made 20-52 shots from the floor (39 percent), which included a 15-34 effort from inside the arc (44 percent) and a 5-18 performance from long distance (28 percent). Oblong also was 9-19 at the free throw line (47 percent), while Cisne made 5-6 foul shots (83 percent). The Panthers also outrebounded Cisne 37-35 and committed just 10 turnovers to 13 for Cisne.
"Offensively, we couldn't get going early, then did a better job getting it inside," Harper said. "I was happy with how we played defensively. Their big kid did a nice job inside and we forgot about (Hosick) a couple of times late, but we were able to close things out."
Mehler led OHS with 16 points, eight rebounds, two steals, one assist and one blocked shot, while Mayhew totaled 14 points, 15 rebounds, five blocked shots and three assists. Maus contributed 13 points, two rebounds, two steals and two assists, Spaeth posted eight points, four rebounds and three assists, Brown netted three points, six rebounds, three steals and one assist and Alec Jacobs added three points and two rebounds.
Kambestad led Cisne with 19 points, 16 rebounds, six blocked shots and one assist, while Hosick posted 18 points, three rebounds and two assists.
While the regional championship is something the Panthers set their sights on, it is not the only goal. The Panthers have reached the sectional championship game each of the past two seasons and would like to get back to that point - and beyond.
"We have a tough schedule and that prepares us well for the postseason," Harper said. "It has been an up and down year and the boys could have packed it in. But, we have told them not to pay any attention to our record and that they are talented enough to do it. We came down here and got it done, now we have to concentrate on the Sectional."
Oblong (13-17) will play Effingham St. Anthony (21-10), who nipped Altamont 40-39 at the buzzer to win the Nokomis Regional, in the first semifinal of the Red Hill Sectional Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Bridgeport. In other regionals that feed into the Red Hill Sectional, Dieterich beat Neoga 59-40 to win the Cumberland Regional and Patoka beat Odin 68-61 to win the Mulberry Grove Regional. Dieterich and Patoka will play in the second semifinal Wednesday at 7 p.m. The championship game is set for Friday at 7 p.m.