By John L. Pitts
BIGGERSVILLE – It was less of a basketball game and more of a heavyweight prize fight.
And in the end, it took an extra round to settle.
Coldwater outslugged defending Class 1A champion Biggersville on its own court Thursday afternoon, winning 72-67 in overtime.
The host Lions (25-6), with seven seniors on their roster, “left it all on the floor,” a drained coach Cliff Little said when the game – and his team’s season – was over.
“We knew some very good teams would be gone after today,” Little said. “We never got into a rhythm and Coldwater hit some big shots. You’ve got to give them a lot of credit.”
Coldwater’s Brian Polk, a 6-1 junior, was deadly with mid-range jumpers, scoring a game-high 25 points. He scored four of his team’s nine points in the overtime.
But his Cougars almost threw the game away at the end of regulation.
Tied at 63 with 3.3 seconds left, they botched an inbound pass under their own basket and it wound up in the hands of Biggersville’s Jaylon Gaines.
Gaines’ potential game-winner at the rim wouldn’t go down.
“I thought it was over at that point,” said Coldwater head coach Wirt Spiva, who team won the 2012 1A state title. “We put it in Gaines’ hands with the game on the line? We dodged it right there, but we’ve been playing in games like these all season. We’re battle tested.”
Daniel Simmons led Biggersville with 23 points in his final high school game, including three 3-pointers in the final 2:19 of regulation. Darian Bennett was huge in the early going while his teammates struggled and finished with 23.
Emmanuel Simmons, another senior, tied it at 63 with a pair of free throws with 3.3 left.
“We were just exhausted at the end,” Little said. “I so proud of this team and they way they dug down. These seniors gave this school and community a lot to be proud of. They’ll be missed.”
Coldwater (25-6) advances to play Ingomar in today’s 7 p.m. game at Biggersville.