Nature Coast Technical blew a 10-point lead to River Ridge in the final quarter, but still managed to hold on for a 49-47 win in overtime Tuesday night in the Indian Rocks Christian School Holiday Tournament.
"We played well for 3 1/2 quarters," Nature Coast Head Coach Dave Pisarcik said. "But always going against River Ridge, you're going against a tough D. They take you out of what you do and they hit shots.
"But even when they took it down to the wire, our guys never gave up. The shots fell for us at the right time and we ended up with the victory." Blown screen It was all made possible on a lay-up by Drake with three seconds remaining in regulation, off the penetration of point guard Jake Meier. It just never should have gone down that way.
"It was really set up for Mike Adams," Meier said. "It was a back screen to the hoop but they took it away and I had to make something out of it myself."
Drake had a more honest answer for why the Royal Knights (8-5) successfully eliminated the designed played.
"I was supposed to go set a screen but I messed up," Drake said. "I went the wrong way but we ended up making it work."
Adams led the team in scoring with 15, 11 in the first half as the Sharks (8-3) opened up as much as a 16-4 advantage on his three-point play to start the second quarter.
Nature Coast took a 21-12 advantage into halftime and a 32-22 edge into the fourth quarter, until River Ridge arose behind solid defense and a barrage of three-pointers.
Marco Custodio, Cody Bagamary and Alex Hill all hit from beyond the arc in a little over a minute span, cutting the deficit to 38-37 with 2:40 to play.
A lay-in by Adam Childs put the Royal Knights in front by one at the 1:24 mark. A pair of free throws by Bagamary and one from Hill made it a 42-38 lead with 21.6 remaining.
Drake converted a lay-up while getting fouled and hit the ensuing free throw to pull Nature Coast within one with 14 seconds left.
Hill missed 1-of-2 free throws at the other end; setting up Drake's tying score that forced an extra period.
In overtime Drake again provided the big play, stealing the ball at midcourt and hitting on another lay-up while getting hit to make it 48-47 Sharks with 1:04 on the clock.
He also collected the rebound after a River Ridge miss and converted one last foul shot with four ticks left, providing the final margin.
"Once I knew I got the ball, I knew I had to make it," said Drake, who finished with 12 points. "I didn't want to lose to them again. I knew I had to finish my lay-ups."
Nature Coast avenged a 40-33 loss to the Royal Knights in a Thanksgiving tournament. Bagamary had 15 points to pace River Ridge; Childs added 13.
"We played great defense. We're a pretty good defensive team," River Ridge Head Coach John Sedlack said. "We were a step slow to everything at the beginning of the game.
"...It was our game to win. We made a great comeback and we didn't finish it off. I'm disappointed because that's not a trait of my team. We lacked execution down at the end. It was not very good."
With the win, the Sharks set up a potential meeting with county-rival Springstead in tonight's 8:30 p.m. championship game. Nature Coast lost to the Eagles on Dec. 9, 63-45.
Results of the Springstead-Indian Rocks Christian game were unavailable at press time.
"Anytime we get a chance to play Springstead, it's a good opportunity for our guys," Pisarcik said. "They're our county rival. Playing in the championship game, I think our guys will get up to play them.
"Springstead is a tough team. We're going to have to play real, real well to give them a game. It'll be a good one." NATURE COAST 49, RIVER RIDGE 47 (OT)
Qtr. Scoring1 2 3 4 OT
River Ridge4 8 10 21 4 - 47
Nature Coast13 8 11 11 6 - 49
River Ridge (47): Bagamary 5 3-4 15, Childs 6 1-1 13, Surrena 1 1-2 3, Hill 2 3-6 8, Allen 1 0-1 2, Custodio 2 0-0 6, Cibirka 0 0-1 0, Sestok 0, Lane 0, Goldnik 0, Saitch 0. Totals 17 8-15 47.
Nature Coast (49): Adams 4 7-9 15, Waddy 1 0-2 2, Drake 5 2-4 12, Meier 2 0-0 6, Lowman 3 0-0 7, Lynch 0. Totals 15 10-16 49.
Three-point field goals: RR 5 (Custodio 2, Bagamary 2, Hill); NCT 3 (Meier 2, Lowman).
Total fouls: RR 16; NCT 14.
Technical fouls: none.
Fouled out: none.
Records: River Ridge (8-5), Nature Coast (8-3).