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Springfield's Manny Durden stood in position to end Friday night's Northern Lakes League battle with Southview at the end of regulation.
But the Blue Devils senior missed a free throw with 0.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter with the score tied at 51, sending the game into an overtime period.
Durden made the most of a second chance at securing a win for the Blue Devils at the foul line in OT. He sank two free throws with 2.0 seconds left in the extra quarter to help Springfield pull off a 60-59 victory over Southview.
"I'm used to being in that clutch situation, so I'm surprised that I missed the first one," Durden said. "When I got the second opportunity, I made myself knock it down."
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Durden, a 6-foot-2 senior, delivered more than just the two game-deciding free throws in OT, which gave Springfield a 60-56 lead before Southview's Nate Hall swished a last-second 3-pointer for the final points of the game.
Durden poured in a team-high 18 points, including a crowd-pleasing slam dunk early in the second quarter. He scored eight of his points during the second quarter to help Springfield go up by as many as 12 points. The Blue Devils settled for a 27-20 halftime lead.
Mason Durden, Manny's brother, a 5-8 sophomore, provided ample offensive support, finishing with 17 points, including a 3-pointer. John Key added nine points for the Blue Devils (6-2, 3-1 NLL).
"We were in a battle," Manny Durden said. "But we knew that if we worked hard and made plays that we'd beat that team."
Southview (6-2, 2-2) overcame the early deficit and actually took the lead and led by as many as three points when Justin Schaffer drained a 3-pointer to give the Cougars a 48-45 led with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter.
However, Southview was outscored 6-0 over the next 2 minutes, 16 seconds and trailed 51-48 when Matt Morrison knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the score at 51 with 10 ticks left on the game clock.
Morrison finished the contest by scoring a game-high 20 points, including two 3-pointers. Nate Hall added 14 points, and Jeremiah Roberts provided nine points for the Cougars.
Springfield coach Stan Joplin said the Blue Devils could not afford a loss on their home court if they wanted to keep themselves in the thick of the league race.
"We definitely wanted to get a win because we lost to Perrysburg earlier in the year and we don't want to fall two games back in the loss column," Joplin said. "It's very important to just keep track and try to stay up there with the rest of the league."
The Blue Devils coach said they’re still a work in progress considering there are only two players on the roster who were regular contributors on varsity last season. Neither of the Durdens, who transferred to Springfield from Rossford, were active contributors until this season.
“We do a lot better when our backs are against the wall,” Joplin said. “We’re up by 11, we’ve got to put teams away. The thing that people forget is we still don’t have experience. Markese Hicks and Chad Roy are the only kids who got any type of varsity experience.
“The Durdens didn’t play last year, neither did John Key, Demajeo [Wiggins], and everybody else, so we don’t know what it takes yet.”
Southview coach Bruce Smith wasn’t pleased with what he saw from the Cougars.
“We have nobody to blame but ourselves because we played very poorly on defense,” Smith said. “They went down the lane whenever they wanted. We didn’t guard one-on-one well. We didn’t help well. We got what we deserved.
“I was just disappointed with our lack of competitiveness. You can’t play good teams and play one half. We didn’t come ready to play.”