HERRIN — Hard, clean physical basketball for nearly 31 ½ minutes Friday night became something else for just a moment, leading to an unfortunate incident at the end of Herrin’s come-from-behind 69-59 SIRR Ohio win over Massac County in Memorial Gym.
Five technicals and two ejections were administered with 33.7 seconds remaining after rebounding action turned into a rumble. Each team lost a starter who will be ejected for their next game, as prescribed by IHSA rules.
“I don’t like the way it went down,” Tigers coach Sayler Shurtz said. “You never want to end a game like that. I didn’t see what started it, I’ll have to see the tape. Our guy’s going to have to miss a game, and he has to learn you just can’t come off the bench like that.”
The Patriots’ Jase Mizell, who scored a team-high 16 points, drew two technicals and will have to miss a conference game next Friday at home against Benton. Herrin guard Landon Bolen was tossed for a flagrant technical after leaving the bench area to join the fracas. He'll sit out a non-conference clash tonight at Salem.
Massac County coach Joe Hosman viewed the video of the altercation after the game.
“I didn’t see it all. I’ve looked at it on tape and I’m just going to keep quiet about it,” he said.
Before the last-minute fireworks, the Tigers’ fourth quarter play spoke loud and clear. They outscored the Patriots (12-2, 2-1) 28-13 in a splendid display of hoopage, making 9 of 13 shots from the field and canning 8 of 9 foul shots after struggling at the stripe for three quarters.
Jake Baumgarte’s Eurostep drive to the bucket gave Herrin the lead for good at 51-50 with 3:54 left. Anthony, who finished with a game-high 19 points, converted a 3-point play in transition to make it 56-52.
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Reice Hartline tossed in a short jumper with just over two minutes left for a 58-54 lead, then hit a layup off an Ian Nantz pass to make it 60-55. Anthony sank four straight foul shots in the last minute to help the Tigers (8-6, 2-1) ice the game.
Hartline and Luke LeQuatte each finished with 18, Hartline going 8 of 9 from the field. Baumgarte kicked in 12 points.
“It was our best team win, one through 15,” Shurtz said. “I thought we really played as a team, and once we made some shots, it got the crowd engaged and got our team back into it.”
Kyler McIntosh came off the bench to score 12 points for Massac County, while Zach Travis netted 11.
“I knew Herrin was a good team,” Hosman said. “But they had kids score points tonight that haven’t scored like this all year long.”
Massac County was the first team to gain traction offensively after both started out in shaky fashion, forcing tough shots and missing easy ones. The Patriots established an 11-3 lead as reserve Tragen Keyes provided a spark with a jumper and a 3-pointer.
Herrin answered with an 8-2 burst that featured 3-balls from Brandon Anthony and Jake Baumgarte sandwiched around a spectacular tip-in by LeQuatte. But Jase Mizell drilled a 3-pointer just before time expired to give Massac County a 16-11 advantage going to the second quarter.
What Keyes did in the first quarter, the 6-5 McIntosh did in the second. He supplied firepower off the bench with eight points, pounding the offensive glass for two free throws and a stickback to help the Patriots establish a pair of 11-point leads.
Anthony’s 3-pointer in the last minute pulled the Tigers within six, but patient execution by Massac County enabled Zach Travis to measure a wide-open 3-ball from the left wing. It found nothing but net as the buzzer sounded, sending Massac County to intermission with a 34-25 advantage.