WEST FRANKFORT — Eli Downen’s jumper with 2.2 seconds left in overtime lifted Carterville to a 67-65 win over Eldorado in the opening game of the 33rd Annual West Frankfort Boys Midwinter Classic on Saturday night.
“We had two calls,” said Carterville coach Shane Hawkins. “We had a zone call and a man call because they kept switching things up. Because there wasn’t a lot of time it was just go play.”
Carterville (9-10) trailed by seven early in the third quarter, but rallied to pull within one point heading in the fourth quarter. The Lions trailed 57-55 with 1:17 remaining in regulation time, but Austin Garbe was fouled 20 seconds later and made both free throws to tie the game for the 14th time. On Eldorado’s next possession Downen blocked a shot from the lane to save the tie.
In overtime, both teams traded baskets with Eldorado scoring first and Carterville scoring last to knot the score at 65-65 with 49.3 seconds remaining. The Eagles brought the ball up the court, but a Lions defender got a hand on the ball and Bryant Byrd lost the ball out of bounds to set up the winning play for Carterville with 31.8 seconds on the clock.
Carterville ran the time down to 14.1 before calling a timeout. Downen threw the ball into the Bryce Anderson who passed it to Dylan Moore, who took a shot, but it rolled off the rim. Carterville got the rebound and Downen was passed the ball in the lane where he hit his jumper from about eight feet out.
“It really wasn’t my play – it just came to me,” Downen said. “I was at the high-post and took one dribble to my left and just pulled up. When it left my hands I knew it was good.”
Downen finished with 19 points while Garbe led the Lions with 23 points. Joe Mayberry led the Eagles with 18 points.