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By Brian Besch
Down 11 with 2:30 minutes to go versus the state’s No. 11 Class 2A team, Big Sandy had a hill to climb. They were able to climb it, as Nick Ortiz’s three-pointer at the buzzer sent the game into overtime.
It would lead to a 71-64 win for Big Sandy over district champion Somerville in the bi-district round of the playoffs Tuesday night in Willis.
Big Sandy actually led at halftime 33-30. They would lose that lead soon in the second half, not recovering it until overtime. Somerville had a double-digit difference on one occasion in the second half. Big Sandy made it close a few times, but had trouble keeping pace.
“We just made some huge plays, and this was without our starting point guard,” Wildcat coach Kevin Foster said. “He fouled out midway through the third quarter. For us to come back, I think it speaks a lot for our kids. We got to the two-and-a-half-minute mark and made a few shots, then it was close.”
Down three, the Wildcats missed a three-point attempt near the end of regulation, but got the ball back with five seconds left.
“Nick Ortiz hit just a huge three,” Foster said. “He got open and it worked. He got a really open look in the corner and did a really great job of knocking it down.”
That sent it into overtime. Foster said a key moment in that extra period was Zane Alec taking a charge on the Yeguas’ top performer Keith Crawford, drawing his fifth foul and elimination from the contest.
“That was huge for us, because both teams went a while really in overtime without scoring. We had taken the lead and scored a couple, but when he found out, it really kind of changed the game a little bit.”
Jamesley Flowers and Javen Criswell led the team with 17 points each, while Tavian Battise had 15. Yegua point guard Crawford was the top scorer with 29 before fouling out.
“We tell the kids when you get in the playoffs, every game is its own season, because of the finality of it. We won this season and we will play Friday in a new one.”
That Friday game will be versus Holland, with a setting expected to be somewhere around the Bryan-College Station area.
This season has been a little tougher in Dallardsville than most in recent history. The team participated in just a few games at full strength, going most of the season with athletes playing out of position.
“I really challenged the kids,” Foster said. “I told them that I don’t know what we can be, but we’ve got a chance to go out and prove to everybody what we should have been all year.”