BENTON — In one of the wilder heart-stopping games this basketball season, the Massac County Patriots overcame a 10-point fourth-period deficit and somehow, some way escaped Benton with a 76-75 double-overtime win Friday over the host Rangers.
The Patriots improve to 14-2 overall and 3-1 in the Ohio Division of the River-to-River Conference. Benton falls to 12-4 overall, 1-3 in the league.
Both teams left it all on the floor on this night. There were heroes galore for both sides. Too many huge offensive and defensive plays to recount in this space in the allotted time.
Lukas Wilson, Landon Croslin and Isaac Billington were sensational for the Rangers, while Brody Smallman, Ian Higgerson and Isaac Hosman were top notch for the Patriots.
It was tied at 11 after one period. Massac led 28-24 at the half. Benton led 42-39 after three periods. It was tied at 59 all at the end of regulation even after the home team went up double digits at 53-43 on a 3-pointers from Croslin.
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"They score so fast," said Rangers head coach Ron Winemiller. "I thought we did a pretty good job of rebounding the ball the first three quarters. Down the stretch, maybe we got a little tired. Hats off to them. They kept coming and found a way to win."
Both teams scored seven points in the first extra period (66-66).
The Rangers took a 69-66 lead early in the second extra session on a basket from Wilson and free throw by Billington. But Smallman scored on the other end for the Patriots as did Higgerson to pull Massac within one at 71-70.
A turnover and lay-in basket by Hosman gave the Pats the lead at 72-71. Billington tied it with a free throw. Hosman's free throws gave the Pats the lead and it was extended to four at 76-72 before Croslin buried a triple with 7.9 seconds left. Smallman then missed two free throws on the other end with six seconds left and Billington, racing downcourt, turned the ball over as time expired.
Hosman, who forced that turnover defensively, led the charge offensively for Massac with 23 points. Smallman followed with 17. Higgerson tacked on 12 for the Pats.
The Rangers were led by Wilson's 22 points. Billington contributed 21. Croslin had 15, all on threes.
"I thought we did a good job of moving the ball tonight," Winemiller said. "I thought we played so much better than we did Tuesday night (a loss at Harrisburg). I was proud of our kids and how they competed. That was just a really good high school basketball game."
Patriots head coach Joe Hosman said he couldn't be prouder of his team.
"Just a great team effort tonight," he said. "Everybody made plays. They were without a very good player (Docker Tedeschi) and we were without a very good player (Will Harmon), both due to injuries. Thankfully, others stepped up for us. Hunter Box and Jackson Lee both played well off the bench. Brody Smallman hit a huge three down the stretch and Isaac (Hosman) was one rebound and one assist short of a triple-double. Just an outstanding game."
Hosman said he told Winemiller after the game that the two teams have had some great battles over the years, but that this one can easily be filed under the category of "classic."
In the first half, a 9-0 second-quarter run allowed the Patriots to overcome a six-point deficit and race off with a 28-24 lead at the intermission.
Wilson was huge for the Rangers in a reserve role. The hard-working 6-foot-1 senior forward tallied nine points in the half, which included two conventional 3-point plays.
Billington also warmed to the task for Benton late in the second period, firing in all nine of his points to keep the Rangers close. Not to be overlooked was Croslin who delivered two 3-pointers in the first period.
The Patriots, meanwhile, received 10 points from junior All-State guard Isaac Hosman. He had three two-point field goals and one triple to go along with a free throw.
Higgerson and Jackson Lee delivered off the bench for Massac with a combined nine points. Hunter Box dropped in four.