As disappointed as he was to walk out of East Hamilton's gym with his team's first loss of the season, Walker Valley basketball coach Will Campbell managed to sum up the back-and-forth District 5-AAA game fairly succinctly.
"It was a big moment for both teams, and it got hard to score," Campbell said following Tuesday's 63-58 East Hamilton overtime win. "Our goal is always to come out and compete and give ourselves a chance to win, and we did. But congratulations to East Hamilton. They have a great team, and we look forward to seeing them again in about a month or so."
Down 11-0 with under three minutes gone in the game, Campbell's Mustangs (8-1, 3-1) rallied to take a first-half lead and stretch it to as much as six early in the fourth quarter. The Hurricanes (9-2, 3-0), though, clamped down defensively and rode a strong finish from all-star Cameron Montgomery to tie the game with 10 seconds remaining in regulation.
Campbell set up a play for guard Jordan Munck, who went off a screen and got into the lane, but his layup attempt was swatted away by a pair of Hurricanes defenders to force overtime.
"A couple of calls didn't go our way down the stretch, but I thought we won the game at the end of regulation," Campbell said. "That was a good play and Jordan Munck did a great job of getting to the rim and I thought we had it, but it just didn't work out."
Walker Valley got a 3-pointer from Blake Campbell to start the extra session, but it would be the team's only points as the 'Canes made getting good shots difficult.
"We knew they would make a lot of runs and that they had good shooters outside," East Hamilton coach Frank Jones said. "They are a very smart team. We kept changing our defense some, and that helped. They kept setting a lot of screens and our guys were getting caught out of position, so the last few minutes we switched to the zone and it made it more difficult for them to shoot 3s."
Morrell Schramm, whose two free throws with 10 seconds left in regulation tied the game at 55, scored on a drive in overtime to cut the Walker Valley lead to one. Darwin Randolph gave the 'Canes the lead for good with a steal and layup.Jamaal Walker (16 points) and Montgomery (19) combined for four free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
"We just kept fighting," Jones said. "The difference was we got them in foul trouble late and we started getting in better position under the basket to make shots. This is a good win because we knew they had beaten Cleveland, so we wanted to come out and protect our home court."
East Hamilton looked as if it would blow the Mustangs out after the quick start in which Montgomery scored five points and made two steals, but the visitors hit five 3-pointers in the second quarter — two by Noah Duprey — to take a 31-27 halftime lead.
Duprey, who would foul out in overtime, scored five more in the third quarter as the lead grew to six, and scored each of his team's six third-quarter points to finish with 17. Munck added 15 points and Alex Duke 10 for the Mustangs, while Schramm chipped in 11 for the Hurricanes.
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296. Follow him on Twitter @youngsports22.