EAST CANTON -- The East Canton Hornets rained three-pointers down on Sandy Valley last Tuesday. In the end, their record-tying night was just enough to prevail 55-53 in overtime. Their 11 treys created a game filled with swings that kept the final result in doubt until the final seconds.
The Cardinals got off to an electric start. They rolled to a 19-13 first quarter advantage as four Cards made deposits in the scoring column, led by seven markers from senior Tyler Hunter.
The Hornets, after a conventional three-point play on a rebound by Bryce Moldovan, started slowly and fell behind 9-2. However, largely on the strength of treys from Hayden Miller and Cody Reichard they narrowed the gap by quarter's end.
Quarter two saw Cardinal stalwart Zach Schlimm go to the bench on the first possession with his second foul. But hoops from Walter Grossman and Nick MIller combined with a Nate Shepler bucket expanded the lead to 24-13.
Then the tide turned quickly. Alec Pennell, Reichard and Miller poured consecutive treys on the Cards and Moldovan added another putback to cut the deficit to 26-24.
Sandy called a timeout and inserted Schlimm. Order was immediately restored to the Card's kingdom and they ended the half on a 6-3 run that left them leading 32-27 at intermission.
The game tightened more in quarter three and the Cards clung to a 40-39 lead. The Hornets unleashed more three-point fury with three treys from Reichard and one from Miller to cut the deficit. Austin Neisel tallied a hoop, Schlimm a three-point play, and Shepler a trey for Sandy Valley.
Another Reichard trey finally gave East Canton a lead early in the final stanza. Pennell followed with a steal and a score and later hit a pair of free throws to expand a Hornet advantage to 46-40 before Sandy answered with a Schlimm score and two free throws. Grossman then created a mid-quarter tie with a rebound basket.
Reichard responded with a score and Miller added a three-point play to offset a Schlimm basket and the teams went into the final agonizing minute. The Hornets spread the floor and tried valiantly to control the ball but turned it over.
Shepler eventually knotted the game with another long trey; East Canton could not score and it was overtime.
On the third possession of overtime, Reichard put East Canton up with a pair of freebies. Two possessions later Miller hit a critical free throw with 0:25 remaining. Schlimm answered to cut the deficit to one but Miller was fouled and added a final point to insure the win.
For the Hornets, Reichard scored 24 with six treys and added 10 rebounds. Miller added 14 to go with three steals. Pennell notched 10 points. Moldovan grabbed 11 rebounds, while Clay Libertore added nine boards and four assists.
Sandy Valley was led by Schlimm with 19 and Shepler with 15 including two huge treys.
Coach Pado was elated with the victory: "That was a really good win for us for a lot of reasons. It was our first home win of the year. We overcame adversity after being down 13 points early and grinded out a win. It's a local rivalry game for our guys which is a meaningful game for our guys. Finally, it's a future conference opponent when we go to the IVC next year.
"We tied a school record with 11 3's tonight and to do it on a night when you win was really fun for our guys! That's something they can take with them and be proud of! Not everyone made a three but several other guys got offensive rebounds and assists that led to threes so everyone played a part in the record and the win.
"I thought we did a nice job handling the ball with a very manageable 14 turnovers. We forced 21 turnovers so we were pleased with those numbers. We hurt them on the glass with 18 offensive rebounds, which led to several of our made three's, but we do need to clean up the defensive rebounding as we gave up double digit offensive rebounds.
"We need to come out hungry against Garfield Friday night cause we have another opportunity for a win. We owe them after losing at our place when we led by 3 with 3 minutes to play."