Visiting Stoughton erased a 17-point second half deficit, hitting a late three to force overtime and looked on the verge of a victory in the extra period before the Warriors forced double overtime and snatched it right back, earning a 90-84 verdict on Tuesday night.
Donahue beat the buzzer with an offensive putback in the first overtime and Conlin drew a key charge and hit a big three in the second overtime, a pair of crucial plays that helped the hosts secure the win.
“We talk about how it’s a game of runs and how you respond to them,” said King Philip head coach Dave DeStefano. “I thought we did a good job of getting them early but then we settled in and got a little too comfortable instead of finishing the game strong. I’m happy with the way the guys responded in overtime and we got some big plays down the stretch from Tommy Donahue and Owen Conlin, and that was the difference.
“They each had a huge play with Tommy getting the tip in to force the second overtime and I thought Owen stepping in to take that charge in the second overtime was the difference-maker.”
Stoughton scored first in the second overtime but Donahue answered with a bucket down low. The team’s traded empty trips before Conlin stepped in to take a charge against Obinna Ugwuakazi, who scored a career-high 36 points for Stoughton. Not only did it get the Warriors the ball back, but it was also Ugwuakazi’s fifth foul.
Robert Jarest drove to the basket and finished off the backboard for two before Stoughton’s Myles Grigalunas-Powell (17 points, eight rebounds, four assists) and King Philip’s Alex Fritz (30 points) traded field goals.
After an empty trip from each team, Conlin drained a big three with just under two minutes left to push KP’s lead to 88-82. The game never got closer from there with Stoughton going 0-for-6 in its next couple of possessions and KP held on for the win.
“There’s a lot of positives, there’s a lot of negatives,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan. “It’s not our first rodeo with having a bad first half and great second half, it’s actually become a cliche with this team. They know it, we know it, and we’re working on it…that was a good high school basketball game.”
Conlin converted in the paint to put the Warriors up 49-32 midway through the third quarter. The Warriors had never trailed in the contest and held a double-digit lead since the first quarter.
But Stoughton gained a little bit of momentum with a strong finish to the frame with Ugwuakazi spearheading a 14-point burst to end the third to bring the Black Knights within striking distance, down 57-46.
That momentum carried over into the fourth in the form of a 9-0 run that featured two points from Brett Pendenza and five from Grigalunas-Powell to get the visitors within two points.
Chris Roy answered with a big three on a feed from Jarest (five points, 14 rebounds, three assists) and two possessions later, Andrew McKinney (16 points, 11 rebounds) completed a traditional three-point play just before the midway point of the fourth to push KP’s advantage back to 63-55.
Ugwuakazi answered with a tough, contested three-pointer and the Black Knights got a stop before Jake Queeney sank another triple, bringing the visitors within two again.
Fritz made one free throw but back-to-back buckets from Stoughton senior Adman Jared and a strong take from Ugwuakazi gave the Black Knights their first lead of the game with 1:32 to play.
Fritz sank two more free throws to put KP ahead before Ugwuakazi had one of his own to knot the score at 68-68. Two more from the line from Fritz preceded a stop by the Warriors, and Fritz went back to the line and sank another to push the lead to three.
Stoughton took advantage, coming back down and Tommy Sanda drained a three with 3.3 seconds left to make it 71-71. King Philip’s half court heave was off to force overtime.
The free throw line helped dictate the direction of the overtime periods with Tahkwan Gates Brown and Fritz trading a pair early on. McKinney put the Warriors ahead and Donahue converted a putback to push the KP lead to 77-74.
Stoughton responded with a 4-0 burst, getting a turnover that led to another three from Queeney as the Black Knights jumped ahead 78-77. Both teams had a pair of misses at the line, Stoughton got another stop, and Sanda pushed the lead to two with another free throw.
Fritz was just off on a contested layup but with more bodies down low, Donahue came up with the offensive rebound and put it right back up before the buzzer to make it 79-79 and forced a second overtime.
“We talk about it being a team game and there are five guys on the court,” DeStefano said. “We still want to use Fritz, but if defenses are overplaying him, then we have other guys that can step in there. We have other guys on this team that can score as we saw tonight.”
It was a bit of a wild start to the game with the teams combining for over 40 points. Fritz and Ugwuakazi, the Hockomock League’s leading scorers, both got it done early.
Fritz shot 7-for-9 in the opening eight minutes, scoring 17 points as the Warriors enjoyed a 27-point outburst to start the game. Ugwuakazi knocked down a pair of triples and finished with 12 of the Black Knights’ 17 points.
After the first quarter, Stoughton’s adjustment to put Queeney on Fritz paid dividends, with Gallivan making a point to highlight Queeney’s defensive work. The Black Knights held Fritz to two points in the second, scoreless in the third, and without a field goal until the second overtime period.
King Philip boys basketball (3-4 Hockomock, 5-5 overall) is back in action on Friday when it entertains Mansfield. Stoughton (2-5, 5-6) will look to snap its three-game skid when it travels to Milford on the same night.
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