MIAMI — The Jay boys proved Yogi Berra’s axiom “it ain’t over till its over” right here Thursday, Feb. 8.
The 14th ranked Bulldogs clawed their way out of a 19-point second-half hole and claimed a 55-53 overtime win over Miami at the Miami Activity Center.
“It was a bitter, hurtful defeat – maybe the toughest in my 25 year or right up there,” Miami coach Rusty Mercer said. “Give them some credit, but this is on us. We have to be able to make plays and I have to be able to make better decisions to get us through that.
“We have to own it as players and coaches. It’s a shame and I hurt for our kids.”
The Wardogs, who played a nearly perfect first half, grabbed a 16-point lead when Kai Hamilton nailed a Steph Curry-range trey at the buzzer, making it 35-19.
A 3-point goal by Kaleb Jinks with 1:02 left in the third staked the Dogs to their biggest lead of the night, 44-25.
It was 44-27 heading into the fourth, when the wheels fell off: Jay held a 24-7 edge over the next eight minutes.
A bucket from inside by Stormy Taylor tied the game at 51, then Jay held a 4-2 edge in the four minute overtime to claim its 17th win of the season.
Gabe Simpson had nine points and Garrett Sweeney had six to fuel the Bulldog comeback in the fourth quarter.
“We executed our game plan perfectly for so long against a really good team,” Mercer said. “This is what athletics provides us in dealing with adversity in life.”
The Wardogs (9-11) turn around and face Hilldale (7-12) Friday, Feb. 9 at the MAC.
“That could be good if we let it,” Mercer said. “It will test our resolve. We can’t let it carry over and cost us two games. I am confident my guys will not let one affect two.”
Kai Hamilton scored 21 points and Kaleb Jinks added 17 (but none in the fourth) for MHS.
Others scoring for the Wardogs were Eli Lewis with seven points, Conner Womack with five and Kai Hamilton three.
“I love my guys and they are resilient,” Mercer said. “We have to stand up, self reflect and get past it quick and be ready to play tonight.”
Sweeney finished with 16 points to lead Jay. Simpson and Taylor added 13 and 10, respectively.
Girls: 73, Miami 25
After cutting Jay’s lead to 10-6 with 32 seconds left in the first quarter, the Lady Wardogs wouldn’t score again until just before the half when Shelby Hubbard had a layup.
By then, Jay had opened up a 25-8 advantage.
A 48-point second half enabled the Lady Bulldogs (5-15) to break the game open.
They outscored Miami (0-19) 26-6 in the third quarter and 22-14 over the final eight minutes.
Hubbard and Bayleigh Beckwith scored six points each to lead Miami’s offense.
Maddie Arnold and Abby Osborn chipped in with four each,
Malarie Thompson scored three and Callie Mercer added two.
Landrey Sweeney and Callie Callahan had 14 each for Jay, which had 10 players score.