Eagles lose in OT to #14 Cougars
By Tim Fleischer
A missed three-point shot with 7.31 seconds left in overtime and a foul underneath the basket gave Jarrell’s Houston Stewart the opportunity to put the Cougars out of reach Jan. 29 in a hard-fought district loss for Salado 55-57.
The loss puts the #13 Salado Eagles into a tie with their nemesis the #14 Jarrell Cougars. Both teams have defeated the other at home. Both are headed for the playoffs and will likely share the District Championship.
The squads fought each other from the tip-off to the final second of regulation, when Andrew Warren’s 15-foot jumper bounced off the back of the rim, denying the Eagles a storybook win.
The squads squared off in overtime, where shots at the charity stripe were the difference in the game. Jarrell’s James Klepac buried both of his free throws, but it took two trips to the free throw line for Salado to reknot the game at 49-49 with 1:49 left in overtime.
Stewart gave Jarrell a 52-49 lead but Kyle Heiner’s steady shots at the line narrowed the lead to one with 39.31 seconds left to play.
Quick fouls by both squads brought the score to 53-52 with 22.05 seconds left. Klepac hit a crucial jumper to extend the Jarrell lead to 55-52 with 17.81 left in OT.
Salado got the ball across midcourt, but the Jarrell defenders did not let any man open and with defenders in his face, Dane Hankamer missed a three-pointer that would have tied the game with 7.31 seconds left.
Jarrell’s Stewart rebounded the ball and was immediately fouled, converting both shots for a 57-52 lead.
Warren hit a three-pointer just as time ran out on the clock, as the Eagles fell just short in the closely-fought game.
Jarrell extended their first-quarter lead of 15-12 to 19-12 with 6:20 left in the half before the Salado Eagles went on an 11-point run over the next four minutes, led by Tyler Ramthun and Hankamer combinging for 8 of those points.
Jarrell closed to within one point at the half, 23-24.
In the third, Salado led by as much as 6 points, 32-26 with 5:28 left in the period before Jarrell closed the gap to 34-35 going into the fourth quarter.
Jarrell fought to stay within three points throughout the fourth quarter, tying the score at 45-45 with 2:11 and taking a narrow lead of 47-45 with 1:44 left to play. Brandon Womac hit both of his free throws to tie the game at 47-47 with 1:31 left to play.
Neither team scored in the final 91 seconds and Kyle Heiner grabbed a rebound for Salado and time out was called with 4.76 left on the clock. The time out was evidently called before a foul that would have put Heiner in a position to give the Eagles a lead. The Eagles inbounded the ball and Andrew Warren took a 15-foot shot in traffic with the ball banging off the rim as time ran out in regulation.
Hankamer led Salado with 18 points, followed by Womac, who had 15 points. Also scoring for Salado were Austin Adams, 8 points, Ramthun, 6 points, Kase Spears, 4 points, Heiner and Warren, 2 points each.
Klepac and Tony Brown both scored 17 points to lead Jarrell. Also scoring for the Cougars were Wesley Alvarez, 9 points, Landon Ledbetter, 8 points, and Stewart, 6 points.