- By Jeff Gilbert Contributing Writer
Quinton Roach has never gotten so many victory hugs and interview requests. But that’s what happens when you have the game of your life and swish the winning 3-pointer to beat a rival.
Everybody wants you.
Roach found an opening in the left corner and made his fifth 3-pointer to break a tie with five seconds to play in overtime and lift Kenton Ridge to a come-from-behind 59-56 boys high school basketball victory at Shawnee on Friday night.
“This is crazy – one of the best moments in my life,” Roach said. “I couldn’t thank my players and coaches enough because without them I wouldn’t be here.”
And without Roach the Cougars (9-5, 5-3 CBC Kenton Trail) wouldn’t be celebrating a second overtime win over Shawnee (7-6, 5-2) this season. The last time the Cougars swept the Braves was the 2009-10 season. Before this season, the Cougars hadn’t beaten the Braves since January of 2011. Roach scored a career-high 17 points and surpassed his season total of 3-pointers by one. He was the X-factor.
“It’s what being a senior’s about,” Cougars coach Kris Spriggs said. “Making big plays at big times.”
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All of Roach’s 3-pointers were at least from college range. One in the third quarter was NBA length. That’s where the 5-foot-7 Roach practices his 3-pointers from because he needs the extra room to get his shot off against bigger defenders. Cougars’ leading scorer Jameel Cosby was fine with not taking the final shot.
“I knew it was going in,” Cosby said. “He stepped up big. It was his game.”
In the first meeting at KR, the Cougars twice overcame late five-point deficits. This time they were down 10 in the third quarter and 47-40 in the fourth before Cosby scored with 4:55 left to start an 11-4 run to get to overtime. Cosby’s two free throws with 13 seconds left tied the score at 51. Shawnee’s chance to win was foiled when Calvin Dibert blocked Aaron Schack’s pull-up 10-footer with a second to go.
“We made too many mistakes down the stretch,” Braves coach Chris McGuire said. “We turned the ball over, we missed free throws, we missed some block-out assignments. To their credit they capitalized.”
Roach began overtime with a 3-pointer and Tyler Eberhart scored inside for a 56-51 lead. Shawnee came back to tie with 34 seconds left after a KR turnover on a layup by Schack, who scored 23 points despite missing several minutes of the second half with foul trouble.
“Best-case scenario we were going to win the game and worst-case scenario we were going to double overtime,” Spriggs said. “We wanted to make sure we took the last shot.”
The Cougars held the ball until Roach became the hero. All the Braves could do was heave a final shot from almost half court.
“The last four shots I took from there were all in,” Roach said. “So I thought letting it fly would be the right time. And when I let it go I just knew it was in.”
Also key to the comeback was Cosby scoring nine of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. He took a while to find his way back into the offensive flow after sitting out the last nine minutes of the first half with two fouls.
“I just had to re-gather my focus after sitting in the first half,” Cosby said. “Coach told me to step up and be a leader, and I let the game come to me.”
Why not. It worked for Roach.
• Tecumseh’s girls were upset by three-time defending D-II state champ Alter 49-48 in overtime on Thursday. That snapped the Arrows’ (13-4) six-game win streak. Presley Griffitts led visiting Tecumseh with 18 points and Corinne Thomas added 14. Macy Berner had 12 rebounds.
Tecumseh hosted Ben Logan on Saturday and is at Centerville (11-6) on Monday. Alter (5-11) graduated all the main players from those title teams.
• Springfield freshman Mickayla Perdue remains second in GWOC scoring (22.1) and second in assists (5.3). Senior teammate Makayla DeArmond is fourth in blocks (1.9).
Springfield (8-7) hosts Beavercreek on Saturday and is at Northwestern on Monday.
• Senior Mason Schneider scored 31 points and visiting Greeneview’s goys defeated Southeastern 60-42 on Friday. Greeneview (8-7) hosts West Liberty-Salem on Tuesday.