Local News

March 14, 2014

Double-overtime thriller keeps William Penn in tourney


Arguably the best battle in NAIA Division II National Championships history, the Statesmen men’s basketball team survived to advance past No. 6 seed Dordt 118-116 in double-overtime early Friday morning.
The contest, which was scheduled to start at 9:15 p.m., finally got underway well after 10 due to late earlier matchups. It ended after midnight (12:25 roughly) with the girl no one thought was good enough or pretty enough still walking tall with her majestic horses, fairy godmother, and fancy glass slipper. Cinderella will play again, but may need a long ice bath.
The Statemen’s road continues less than 24 hours from now in a saecond-round matchup against No. 11 seed St. Thomas (Fla.) Friday at 9:15 p.m. The Bobcats (25-7) also won in amazing fashion, beating Union (Ky.) 75-72 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer. After losing its first three games in Keeter Gymnasium, William Penn is now 5-4 all-time in Point Lookout.
Statesmen advancement seemed very likely as No. 27 seed William Penn (23-9) was ahead 96-89 with 59 seconds left, but the Defenders (28-6) found a way to make a late run and force overtime.
Rewind a bit to see how the teams got to extra play. The Statesmen scored the evening’s first points, but in a game that featured ten ties and 20 lead changes, nothing was settled until 50 minutes of game time expired. The lower seed went ahead for a very long time on two free throws by Tyler Stahle that made it 21-20 with 10:06 left in the first half. Highlighted by a 14-3 edge in made charity-stripe tries, William Penn led 49-38 at intermission.
The advantage ballooned to as much as 14 at 55-41 with 17:29 left in regulation, but the Defenders did not enter with 28 wins by luck. The Great Plains Athletic Conference regular season champions pulled to within five (63-58) with 11:59 on the clock and then against at 66-61 just 1:54 later.

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