BY JIM COTTER firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — ST. JOSEPH — Welcome to the postseason.
The Oakwood Comets, seeded fourth in the regional, defeated the fifth seeded Georgetown-Ridge Farm Buffaloes 47-41 in overtime on Monday night in the opening round of the St. Joseph-Ogden Class 2A Regional in St. Joseph.
However, the win was a bittersweet one for the Comets, as Oakwood senior Brian Rice sustained a serious shoulder injury and had to be carried off by ambulance.
“Yes, it is a bittersweet win for our team, because Brian is our team leader and he always works really hard, so losing him will be very tough,” Oakwood coach Doug Robinson said.
The lead changed hands several times throughout the game, and it appeared that Oakwood would run away with the game in the third quarter as they built a 28-22 lead. But the Buffaloes stormed back, and a long 3-pointer by Georgetown-Ridge Farm’s Dylan Bina at the end of the third quarter cut the Oakwood lead to 30-28.
The two teams traded baskets throughout the fourth quarter, and a shot by Georgetown-Ridge Farm’s Rylee Goodwin rimmed in and out, and the game went into the overtime period tied at 40 apiece.
In the overtime period, it was all Oakwood, as Parker Lee went to the free throw line six times and connected on five of those attempts to outscore the Buffaloes in the extra frame by a 7-1 score.
Oakwood (7-19 overall) moves into a semifinal showdown this evening against top-seed and host St. Joseph-Ogden, who comes into the contest at 22-5 overall and regular season champions of the Sangamon Valley Conference.
“We know they (St. Joseph-Ogden) play aggressive defense and like to push the ball, and we will get together and come up with a game plan and hope for the best,” Robinson said .
Oakwood placed three players in double figures, led by Lee’s 16 points. Jeremy Watson added 12 points, while Comets big man Skyler Slade notched a double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
“Most teams, at least the ones in our conference, have trouble with him in the post, and when we get him the ball in the post, good things usually happen,” Robinson said.
“I struggled early, but my teammates kept getting me the ball, and I was able to finish,” Slade said.
Georgetown-Ridge Farm, who sees their season come to an end at 8-22, was led in scoring by Tyson Reed, who scored 11 points. Bina added none, while Chase Hughes came off the bench and had a nice game, scoring eight points. The Buffaloes were out-rebounded 39-24, but only committed 9 turnovers, compared to Oakwood’s 17.
The game, however, was decided at the free throw line, as Oakwood got to the stripe 16 times and connected on 10, while Georgetown-Ridge Farm was just 5-for-9 from the line in the game.
Two more games are on the schedule tonight, as the aforementioned St. Joseph-Ogden Spartans will take on Oakwood in the first game at 6 p.m., followed by the second seed Bismarck-Henning Blue Devils (23-2) taking on third seeded Westville (11-9) at approximately 8 p.m..
The winners of tonight’s games will meet in the regional final on Friday night in a game that is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
Jim Cotter is a freelance writer for the Commercial-News, and can be reached for comment at email@example.com