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FAIRDALE -- Though the SCHS boys’ basketball dominated much of the game against Iroquois on Thursday afternoon, the Raiders wouldn’t go away easily.
Iroquois (5-3) turned up the defensive pressure in the fourth quarter spurring a 17-3 run that eventually led the Raiders to force overtime.
But the Rockets (5-1) regained their composure, scored the first seven points in the extra period and held on for the 79-75 victory in the opening game of the King of the Bluegrass Tournament at Fairdale High School.
Senior guard Cache Tomlinson opened the overtime with his seventh 3-pointer of the game, and freshman swingman Darryl Hicks followed with a lay-in, putting the Rockets safely ahead.
From there Shelby hit six of nine free throws to close out the win.
Hicks grabbed a rebound off a missed Iroquois shot with just 3 seconds remaining and hit both free throws to ice it.
“I knew I just had to get it,” he said of pulling down the rebound against the 6-foot-8 Donovan Gibbs of Iroquois. “I didn’t want us to get beat twice. The last thing you want to do when a team forces you into overtime is get beat.”
Tomlinson said his three to start overtime was an easy open shot, but he added that it did give the team some life after Iroquois’ strong fourth quarter.
“I guess it got us going, but really what we need is to go back and look at the fourth quarter,” he said. “We should’ve wrapped that game up in regulation.”
The Rockets had dominated the first 25 minutes of the game, holding a 65-49 lead off Hicks’ 18-footer with about six minutes to play.
But from there the Raiders turned up the pressure with their frenetic, fullcourt and halfcourt trapping defense.
Iroquois tied the score at 65 with 3:01 to play and took its first lead of the game, 67-66, with 2:25 to play. And after a basket by Hicks, Iroquois tied it again at 68 on a free throw with 1:38 to play.
“Two things happened that really hurt us at the end,” SCHS Coach Mike Clark said. “We let Iroquois speed us up, and we made some poor decisions with the basketball. I think we started to get tired, and that really affected us.”
But the Rockets regained their poise in the extra period.
“I felt like we came out focused and just knew what we had to do,” Hicks said.
Tomlinson finished with 23 points and was named the MVP of the game. Hicks had 27 points and nine rebounds, Donovan Johnson had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Boomer Beckley chipped in 15 points.