Bay falls in double-overtime in regional opener
Oh what a difference a few days and 100 miles can make.
Seventeen days after they had routed visiting Izard County by 24 points near the end of the regular season, the Cougars repaid the Bay Yellowjackets by stunning the defending Class 1A state champions, knocking them out of the Class 1A Region 2 Tournament by the count of 62-60 in double overtime Feb. 26 at the Cougars' Den in Brockwell.
The loss ends the Yellowjackets' season and ends Bay's quest for a third state title in basketball in the last four years.
And this one was a dogfight from start to finish. With the game still knotted at 58-all at the end of the first overtime period, Izard County (17-16) controlled the opening tip and was content to hold the ball near the midcourt line, letting time ease off the clock.
With 1:44 left in the second OT, the Cougars went to work and Julio Martinez sank a shot in the lane to give Izard County a 60-58 lead. Twenty seconds later, Bay's outstanding freshman - Taylor Layne - locked the game at 60-all with two charity tosses. The Cougars once again held the ball and called timeout with 8.8 ticks left on the clock. Out of the timeout, Coby Jones curled to the bucket and tossed in a layup with three-and-a-half seconds left to play, pushing his team on top . Bay called time out to set up one final shot, with the ball 94 feet from its basket. The Yellowjackets advanced the ball up the court and Dustin Utley got a hurried shot off from the top of the key, but it missed the mark and Izard County's fans stormed the court in a wild celebration of the home team's thrilling two-point victory.
The game was squared at 54-all after regulation, when Tyler Pritchett scored the first four points of the initial overtime frame to push the Yellowjackets in front 58-54. Pritchett led all scorers with a game-high 23 points.
Izard County answered with a layup from Martinez - who turned out to be huge for the Cougars, scoring four of his six points for the night in the overtime periods - to pull within two. A steal and layup by izard County's Clay Mosely with 1:10 showing on the overtime clock evened matters at 58-all.
Bay held for the last shot in overtime, but the Yellowjackets missed twice from close range as time wound down, sending the game into double-overtime at 58-all.
The Cougars led by nine points, 46-37, after three periods of play. But Bay wasn't about to just throw in the towel and head home. Instead, the Yellowjackets opened the fourth period on a 7-0 run to edge within two, 46-44.
Mosley busted back-to-back jumpers to build Izard County's advantage back to six with 5:30 left in the fourth. But once again, Bay flexed its muscles and reeled off 10 unanswered points to take a 54-50 lead - it's biggest of the night - with 2:19 left. The Cougars clawed their way back into contention on two free throws from Andrew Walker and a short jumper from Mosley that tied the game at 54-all. Both teams traded turnovers in the last minute of the fourth, leaving the game deadlocked at 54-all as the fourth-period buzzer sounded.
The intense tone of the contest was present from the outset. Bay got two 3-pointers from Lane - and one by Pritchett - to take the lead in the first period. The Cougars moved in front 16-15 late in the first as Stefan Kordic and Walker hit a bucket apiece down the stretch. But Bay used a pair of charity tosses from Jonathan Crain to take a 17-16 advantage after one.
The Yellowjackets saw that lead quickly evaporate in the second, as Bay struggled to score in the stanza. The Cougars opened the second on an 11-2 burst to slide in front 27-19. The Yellowjackets could muster just six points in the second and trailed 29-23 at intermission. The Cougars extended their lead in the third, as Walker opened the period with five points for Izard County, while Jones closed the period strong by racking up the Cougars' last five points of the frame.
Pritchett led Bay in scoring with 23 points followed by Crian with 11 and Layne with 10.
Izard County was led by Walker with 15 points. Mosley finished with 13 points for the Cougars.