PEMBERVILLE - The clash between Genoa and Eastwood was so good no one wanted it to end last night. So they kept playing. And playing and playing.
The Comets prevailed 81-77 in triple overtime in a war of attrition that none of the estimated 1,600 spectators will ever forget.
Nine players scored in double figures as the teams matched bucket for bucket in the first two overtimes. Seven players fouled out and 81 free throws were taken.
"That's a historic basketball game," Genoa coach Jeff Overmyer said. "That's one that people will be talking about for a long, long time. You could write a book on the ebbs and flows just in the fourth quarter and overtime."
Genoa sophomore Richard Wonnell went from goat in the first overtime to a hero in the final OT. Wonnell was fouled with no time left and the game tied at 63 at the end of overtime.
But Wonnell, who had to fight earsplitting noise from the home crowd, had both shots rim out. But with his team down 77-76 with 16 seconds left in the third overtime, Wonnell grabbed an
offensive board off a second missed foul shot and converted the putback for his only points in the game.
"I got a huge weight off my back," Wonnell said. "When I got the ball I knew I needed to make that shot. It was awesome, especially since I'm only a sophomore."
Junior Marcus Vicars, who finished with 11 points, then grabbed a defensive rebound and converted one of two free throws to make it 79-77 with seven seconds left. Senior Zach Skees finally put an end to the magical marathon with a board and two free throws.
"I'm tired that's for sure," said Skees, who had a team-high 18 points. "This is the greatest game I've ever played in. It was so much fun."
Genoa moved into a first place tie with Eastwood in the Suburban Lakes League. Both teams are 10-2 overall, 7-1 in the SLL.
"It felt like a tournament atmosphere tonight," Eastwood coach Todd Henline said. "Both teams got depleted and had to rely on players off the bench and both responded."
Eastwood lost its top player, Chad Fairbanks, with over four minutes left in regulation. But the Eagles, down by 12 late in the third quarter, still rallied.
Fairbanks, who finished with 11, hit two back-to-back 3-pointers as Eastwood opened the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run to tie it at 43. Mark Schult, who tallied 15 points, gave the Eagles a 53-52 lead with 1:46 left and made it a two-point game with a free throw with 1:10 to go.
But Ben Sutter, who fouled out with 12 points, grabbed an offensive board, was fouled and hit both free throws to tie it at 56 with 53 seconds left. Eastwood's Cody Rahe then just missed an off-balance shot at the end of regulation.
Eastwood went 7 of 12 from the free throw line to score all of its points in the first OT. Genoa hit 5 of 9 and Derrick Vicars tallied two of his 15 points. Wonnell's offensive board led to a chance to end it at the line with no time left but instead it went to another OT tied at 63.
"Coach just said, 'It's all right, you'll bounce back and get another shot,'•" Wonnell said.
The Comets Kyle Shimming, who had 13 points, opened it with a 3-pointer. But Eastwood's Jason Faykosh, who scored 21 points, also drained a 3 as both teams scored five points to send it to triple overtime.
Genoa opened a 73-69 lead, but Eastwood regained it on Rahe's 3-pointer with 33 seconds left. Skees then missed two free throws with 22 seconds left, but Wonnell pulled down the rebound and scored.
"That is the neat thing about high school sports," Overmyer said. "We have a lot of faith in Richard. We picked him up and told him we needed him. I knew he would make some plays.
"What an incredible atmosphere. I don't think anyone got cheated tonight."
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6354.41.40945 -83.46128