By Sara Welch | Correspondent
As a result of a total team effort, host Southeast managed to secure a 56-52 victory over West Branch on Tuesday night in an overtime showdown.
"We know that in order for us to be successful we're going to be involved in a lot of close ball games. We were real fortunate tonight that our kids made some big plays down the stretch," Southeast head coach Matt Dillon said.
Late in the fourth quarter, West Branch tied the score at 44-44 after trailing Southeast for a majority of the game. Trevor Norquest pushed the Pirates to a 47-44 advantage with under a minute left after a layup and a trip to the charity stripe, where he went 1-of-2. Southeast (1-1) had all but clinched its victory when Mati Miller hit a 3-pointer for the Warriors as time expired, sending the game into overtime.
Once again, the result came down to the last minute. Krych got the Pirates within a point of West Branch after going 1-of-2 at the foul line. He followed up the next possession by cutting through the Warriors' defense and scoring a layup, putting Southeast ahead 51-50.
Miller responded with a drive of his own, putting West Branch back ahead by a point.
The Pirates finally put the game out of reach when Lucas Bloom drained a 3-pointer with 22.5 seconds left. Krych put the nail in the coffin when he went 2-of-2 from the foul line seconds later.
"When you're in a game like that, kids are just fighting like crazy," said Dillon. "And when you go to the foul line, you've got to be tough and you've got to make foul shots. Fortunately we were able to make enough of them down the stretch."
Although Krych and Bloom contributed with big plays for the Pirates at the end of the game and led the team in scoring, Dillon said the contributions made by the players on the bench were just as crucial to winning the game.
Krych finished the night as the high scorer and cleared a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Bloom finished with 15 points.
"Lucas made a big play at the end and Jordan made a big play, but more importantly than that is that we need everybody who goes into the game to contribute," Dillon said. "In the first half, Jon Kinker played four minutes because we were in foul trouble and he usually doesn't get a lot of minutes. His minutes were just as important as our starters' minutes late in the game. Tyler Wooldridge doesn't play a lot, but he made a big putback off an offensive rebound in the first half. What they did in the first half enabled us to keep it close."