Chad Wright loved the resiliency his William Chrisman boys basketball team showed Tuesday at home.
The Bears mentor just wished his players hadn’t needed so much of it against Staley – especially the extra four minutes worth.
Chrisman shaved an eight-point deficit in the second quarter down to one by halftime, overcame a 10-point third quarter deficit only to yield a tying basket on the last possession of the fourth, then won a battle of attrition in overtime to post an 86-78 Suburban Middle Seven victory.
“We just didn’t play great defense tonight, but we were able to make some shots,” Wright said after his team improved to 6-5 overall and 2-0 in the Middle Seven. “I can’t fault the kids for how hard they played, but (the Falcons) were shooting layups.”
Particularly disheartening was a failed defensive gamble against a pass to the top of the key, which allowed Staley’s Trevor Lamb to drive through the lane in the closing seconds and a make layup that forced overtime with a 66-all tie.
Chrisman forward Alex Ball, who had 20 points and five rebounds before fouling out in overtime, said the need for an extra period only motivated the Bears more.
“We’d worked so hard to get back into the game, we didn’t want to work that much and end up losing,” Ball said.
After Christian Covington’s 3-pointer gave Staley (5-5, 2-3) the lead to start overtime, Brett Pendergist drove the baseline for a hoop and dished to Ball for a layup that gave Chrisman the lead for good with 2:29 left.
Chris Horn, who paced Chrisman with 24 points, canned a pair of free throws on the next possession for a three-point lead, and Randall Horn put back his own miss for a 74-70 advantage. After Randall Horn’s three-point play made it 77-72 with 55 seconds left, Staley got no closer than four.
“The game wasn’t over,” Wright said of his team bouncing back for overtime. “We just kept fighting and were trying to expose some of their weaknesses.”
After Ball scored in the paint to start the second half, giving Chrisman its first lead at 30-29, Staley snapped off an 11-0 run in two minutes. After several traded baskets, treys by Chris Horn and Ball helped the Bears draw within 51-45 heading into the fourth.
Ball’s driving basket with 3:32 left made it a one-point game at 56-55, and Pendergist drove for the tying hoop at 61-all with 1:14 left. Following a corner 3-ball by Staley sub Connor McCullough, Ball answered from the top of the key, and his rebound of a Staley miss led to Chris Horn’s free throws with 13 seconds left – which could have been the winning points if not for the defensive lapse.
“The first half we let them get in the lane too much,” Ball said. “The second half, we buckled down a bit. It still wasn’t great, but we kept them out of the paint a little more and made some shots and free throws.”
Chris Horn scored half his points in the third quarter and made all eight of his free throws in the fourth and OT after sitting most of the second following a technical foul.
Randall Horn finished with 17 points and six rebounds and Pendergist 15 and seven, respectively. After the Bears made just 9 of 19 free throws in the first half, they made 20 of 23 through the fourth quarter and overtime.
“We made free throws and got to the rim a little better,” Wright said of his team’s second-half rally. “Plus, we had all our players in the game instead of on the bench after making silly comments.”
Lamb led all players with 26 points. The Falcons' Beau Baker had 19 points and 10 rebounds before he fouled out with 2:15 left in the fourth. In all, Staley had four players foul out.
Chrisman hosts Truman Wednesday in the annual Noland Road rivalry game.