BELLVILLE — This was definitely the one the Clear Fork Colts let get away.
The Ontario Warriors downed the Colts, 37-36, in overtime in nonconference boys basketball action Tuesday.
The Colts shot a disappointing 7-for-19 from the free-throw line, while struggling under the boards.
“The free-throw line is all about concentration and focus, and we knew that coming off our big win with Lexington, that was going to be an issue tonight,” said Clear Fork coach Steve Bechtel. “I was concerned before the game about our focus and concentration and it showed out there tonight — especially at the free-throw line.”
The game remained close until the middle of third quarter, when Colts’ guard Trey Boyd (nine points) hit an inside jumper and added a free throw to put the Colts up, 22-17.
Teammates Heath Freeman (five points) and John Thompson each added a bucket to give the Colts their biggest lead of the game, 26-18, with just under a minute left in the third.
“You really can’t say that you are going to break out against a team like Ontario,” said Bechtel. “They’re a quality team. I just thought that we executed better in that quarter, offensively, than we had throughout the game.”
Ontario guard Charlie Richardson (12 points) hit an inside basket and drew the foul with 15 seconds to go in the third. His 3-point play was the key to getting the Warriors back in the game.
“We turned the ball over and they went down and hit a three-point play,” said Bechtel. “That kind of deflated us a little bit.”
A bucket by Ontario forward Travis Snavely, and six Warrior free throws, including three by Courtney Ivy, turned the game around. The Warriors took the lead on Ivy’s last free throw, 29-28, with 4:50 to go in regulation. The Warriors were good on 15-of-23 from the line.
Thompson (11 points) hit a free throw of his own with 1:54 left to tie the game at 33.
The Colts got the ball back with 20 seconds left, and a chance to take the lead, but a pass from Freeman intended for Boyd went out of bounds next to the Colts’ bench.
“That was a very tough fumble,” said Bechtel. “We just told our kids, ‘We’ve got to take care of the basketball and go for the first open, easy shot.’ We just didn’t execute our offense very well.”
Boyd got the chance to atone in the overtime period, grabbing an offensive rebound off of a Freeman shot and following with the basket inside to tie it up at 35 with 2:06 to go.
Unfortunately, it was foul shooting that did in the Colts.
Freeman missed one of two from the stripe with a minute left, and post-player Greg Shaum missed a pair with 33 seconds remaining and the Colts clinging to a 36-35 lead.
With five seconds left, Freeman fouled Ontario forward Alex Richardson, who dropped in both of his free throws to give the Warriors the 37-36 win.
“The deciding factor really wasn’t in the overtime,” said Bechtel. “[Ontario] outrebounded us, they did better from the line, they executed and they made better plays than we did.”
Guard Thad Snell had five points, including the Colts’ lone 3-pointer, while teammate Logan Slavinski had two points. Kalen Tackett added a pair of 2-pointers for the Colts.
The Colts will be back in Ohio Cardinal Conference action when Ashland visits them Friday at 6 pm.