Damond Powell of Rogers goes to the basket against Henry Newson of Waite in a Division II district semifinal Wednesday night at Anderson Arena. Powell led the Rams (13-5) with 19 points.
Rogers (13-5) led Waite by nine points with 4:25 remaining, saw the Indians (7-14) rally to within one point, then held on for a 51-50 victory.
In the second semifinal, second-seeded Defiance (17-5) was not so lucky in holding onto its big lead, watching Scott (10-10) rally from a 13-point deficit in the final 3:49 to force overtime, then ultimately win 64-61 in the extra period.
Rogers, which was led by Damond Powell's 19 points, will play the Bulldogs for the district title at 2 p.m. Saturday at Anderson Arena.
For the Rams, remaining alive was much more difficult than they likely imagined after having hammered Waite 73-48 back on Jan. 14. But it was clear for the outset that the Indians weren't going to roll over.
"We beat them pretty handily the last time and sometimes kids think they're just going to walk out [and win]," Rogers coach Earl Morris said. "It's not so much what [Waite] did, we just missed a lot of easy shots. We missed six or seven layups in the first quarter, that's 14 points.
"Offensively we were out of sync. I think we were too over-hyped. We don't get to go this far [in tourney] too much."
Waite, which got 16 points from Timmy Morehead and 13 from Dishon Harris, was even 14-14 after one quarter and down just 27-24 at half.
Rogers, which also got seven points apiece from Clemmye Owens and Tony Kynard, stretched it to a 39-32 edge entering the fourth quarter, and was up 45-36 after a Powell free throw with 4:25 remaining.
But the Indians rallied, getting within 48-47 on two Morehead free throws with 34.3 seconds left before some poor execution in the closing seconds enabled Rogers to survive.
"We picked up the pressure at the end and tried to get some momentum going our way," Waite coach Dave Pitsenbarger said. "It seemed like it worked there for a while, and then we got a couple breaks there to possibly send it to overtime. The kids just played hard."
Waite rebounded a Rogers free throw miss with 8.6 seconds left and, trailing 51-48, had crossed mid-court when Dominique Roundtree appeared ready to attempt a game-tying 3-pointer. But Pitsenbarger, who was trying to get a timeout earlier, was granted it with just 1.8 seconds to go.
On Waite's subsequent inbounds pass, Roundtree had trouble finding an open man as a five-second count was nearly up. He passed inside to Kenneth Walker under the basket for a meaningless layup at the buzzer.
Rogers was 17-of-47 from the field, 15-of-23 from the line, and forced 16 Waite turnovers while committing 11. The Indians were 16-of-39 from the field, 16-of-23 from the line, and outrebounded the Rams 35-26.
Scott looked ready to end its season after Defiance had rained 11 3-pointers on it through the game's first 28 minutes.
Scott's Dontonio Kynard pulls in a rebound Wednesday night in front of Defiance's Eric Stapleton.
"The first thing I did was get all my seniors up," Scott coach Dames said of the start of the rally. "It was an 11-point game with 2:56 left and I said, 'You guys want your careers to end?' They said no, and I said go out there and show me."
Scott's Bulldogs, who outscored Defiance 25-13 in the fourth quarter, tied the game with 31.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter on two clutch free throws from senior Mike Jones (13 points, 12 rebounds), whose play was pivotal during the comeback.
Scott was nearly flawless at the line in the game, hitting 20 of 21 foul shots, including 4-of-5 in overtime to close the thrilling victory, which caused a frenzied on-court celebration of players and Bulldog fans after the final buzzer.
"It's big, and not so much for my coaching career," said Dames, who is in his first season. "Scott's in a rough community. As the economy goes down, we're kind of at the bottom of that.
"Our community's been through some hard times and our program's really been down. To see those kids run on that floor [to celebrate]… This community loves Scott basketball."
Dontonio Kynard led Scott with 20 points, and Donovan McClain added 16. Herret had 17 points, Anthony Kidston 16 and Tory Guilliam 12 for Defiance.
Ypsilanti 85, Bedford 40
MONROE -- The Mules dropped a Class A district semifinal despite Jackson Lamb's 16 points. Bedford ends its season at 5-15.
Triston Simmons paced Ypsilanti (21-1) with 23 points.