By Matt Goisman
McALESTER — With the game tied and the final shot of the fourth quarter, the McAlester Buffaloes couldn’t win the game in regulation.
Having out-rebounded the Buffs throughout the game, the Broken Bow Savages continued to do so in overtime and spoiled the Buffs’ Homecoming game.
Savages reserve Dillan Leffel scored twice off offensive rebounds in the final 1:15 of the game, helping the Savages edge the Buffs in overtime, 73-68, Friday at Bob Brumley Gymnasium in McAlester.
“McAlester’s significantly bigger than us, and we knew that in order to stay in the game, we were going to have to rebound,” Broken Bow coach Ryan Woolsey said.
Of the game, Woolsey added, “It would’ve been fun to watch. Stressful to coach, but fun to watch.”
Broken Bow missed a shot with about 45 seconds left in the game, and Eli Boyle grabbed the defensive rebound. Jalen Erving then ran 30 seconds off the clock before Buffs coach Chris Zike called timeout.
Texas Pascale inbounded the ball to Todd Dawkins, but Dawkins missed. Boyle grabbed the rebound, but he missed as well to send the game into overtime with the score tied 62-62.
Dawkins struck first in overtime with a jump shot, but Kaleb Jones knocked down a 3-pointer on the opposite end to put Broken Bow up 65-64. Jones scored 20 for Broken Bow, knocking down five 3-pointers.
Jones was also a key member of Broken Bow’s 1-2-2 defense, which at times seemed to confuse McAlester’s ball-handlers..
“The point of the 1-2-2 is we don’t try to steal the ball,” Jones said. “We just kind of slow them down.”
McAlester answered later in the overtime, with Boyle finding Erving for a bank shot with 1:34 left. But on the opposite end Leffel put back his first offensive rebound to give Broken Bow the lead.
Broken Bow forward Daekwon Cubit sandwiched two free throws around two McAlester misses, then Leffel scored his second to make it 71-66 Broken Bow with less than 30 seconds left.
“That’s the first time he’s ever shot it all year,” Woolsey said of Leffel. “He plays defense and rebounds, (but) two big buckets. Two big buckets.”
Keaton Slater scored off an offensive rebound for McAlester, but Cubit went 1-for-2 at the foul line, then Cole McKinney went 1-for-2 with 5.2 seconds left to put the game out of reach. McKinney also scored 20 for the Savages.
“We can score it in the paint, and we hit a couple 3s,” McKinney said.
McKinney added, “Especially in a high school game, free throws win you or lose you the game.”
Broken Bow as a team shot 12-for-17. McAlester shot 12-for-19.
The loss spoiled a night in which the Buff fell behind by 15 in the first half but came back to tie the game. Pascale started off McAlester’s second-half surge, scoring twice off offensive rebounds and getting a free throw out of the second to make it a 10-point game.
Jaylon Watson scored for Broken Bow, but Dawkins answered with two free throws. Tre Roberts scored for Broken Bow, and again Dawkins answered.
The Buffs just got Dawkins back from what Zike called a “partial tear” in the posterior cruciate ligament in Dawkins’ knee. Dawkins scored 23 for McAlester.
“I feel a lot better,” Dawkins said. “I don’t have any pain in it. I’m glad to be back.”
A jump shot from Boyle made it an 8-point game, then Pascale grabbed a defensive rebound and took it coast-to-coast for a layup. McAlester trailed by just 3 heading into the fourth quarter, and though Broken Bow pushed its lead back to 56-46, Erving’s layup and Dawkins’ free throw and 3-pointer made it 56-52 midway through the fourth.
Roberts scored two free throws, but Erving knocked down a 3-pointer. Cubit drained a layup, but Erving later recovered from a missed shot, grabbed the rebound, scored, drew a foul and sank it to make it 60-58.
Boyle came away with a steal on Broken Bow’s next possession, eventually getting to the foul line and sinking both free throws to tie the game 60-60 with 1:56 left in the game.
Erving scored 18 for McAlester. Boyle scored 8.
“We haven’t played a full game yet this year with everyone,” Zike said. “That was the very first game we played with everyone that we were counting on playing.”
With the win, Broken Bow improved to 12-6. McAlester fell to 6-11.
Contact Matt Goisman at firstname.lastname@example.org.