Cyclone basketball has a new look this season, but the wins are still coming.
The Ottawa High School boys topped the Piper Pirates 67-65 in overtime Friday at home thanks to a wide-open shot underneath the basket put in by Kobe Johnson, sophomore forward. Johnson’s shot went in with less than five seconds left to seal a crazy win in the opening game of the season.
Ottawa and Piper played to a 62-62 stalemate through the first four quarters, the Cyclones keeping pace thanks to a three-point basket by Kaleb Shaffer, senior guard, with less than five seconds left in the final quarter.
But it was Jayson Brown, sophomore guard, finding Johnson all alone with time winding down in overtime that put the knife in the coffin.
“I’d be remiss to say if I didn’t give props to Kaleb Shaffer’s bank-in three,” Cliff McCullough, OHS head boys basketball coach, said with a laugh. “Kobe is such a skilled player, and we had two isolation plays we could get to Kobe. We thought we had to play to Jayson so he could get it to Kobe. If they double-teamed Kobe, he could kick it out to Jayson, who had a hot hand too. It was the best of both worlds. When both of those guys went after the shooter, we knew Kobe wouldn’t miss it.”
And he didn’t. The winning shot came after a long game in which Ottawa led until the Pirates staged a furious comeback in the fourth quarter. The Cyclones led 53-49 with 3:31 left, but an 11-3 run by Piper put them up by four with 36 seconds to go.
Brown was fouled on a three-point shot with 20 seconds left and hit all three free throws to keep OHS in the game. On the ensuing possession, Piper’s Daviance Covington, senior guard, was fouled and hit both charity shots to make it 62-59, setting up Shaffer’s three from the top of the key as the seconds ticked away.
As for the team’s new look, McCullough noted Ottawa will win games this year by pounding the ball inside to their big guys, a different approach than the guard-centric team of the past.
“We don’t know a lot about our team right now, and we won’t,” McCullough said. “It is going to take most of the year, but I know they have a lot of grit and they have a lot of fight in them, and that is a good place to start.”
Ottawa (1-0) plays Friday at home against Tonganoxie.
Ottawa (67) - Bethea 14, Shaffer 9, Kobe Johnson 15, Krys Johnson 5, Matney 2, Brown 18, Michel 2.
Piper (65) - Covington 17, Beebe 1, Barnes 4, Eskina 8, Bates 8, Jackson 17, Yoder 9.