Following a triple-overtime slugfest, the Cyclones will get a chance to avenge their sub-state loss from this past February.
Playing on the same court where its season ended less than a year ago, the Ottawa High School boys basketball team travels to Paola for a 7:30 p.m. league showdown Friday. Paola beat OHS in the first round of sub-state 47-42 in double overtime last February. Friday’s game is the final one heading into the winter break.
“I’m a big guy on streaks and momentum and things like that,” Cliff McCullough, OHS head boys basketball coach, said. “We get to end our first quarter of the season with our biggest rivalry game. Right now, they knocked us out of the state playoffs last year in a game that we thought we were the better team. Our guys are going to understand what that was like because I am going to make them relive it. This is Paola, this is a conference game — we play them one other time — but this means a lot and we are on their home court. There is a lot riding on this game and you just don’t have to say anything else other than it is a Paola-Ottawa game.”
Both the Cyclones and the Panthers are 2-2 with Paola winning its most recent game this past Friday 77-71 against Kansas City East Christian Academy.
Ottawa grinded out a 60-53 triple overtime victory Tuesday on its home court against Topeka West. It was the third out of four games Ottawa has played that has been decided by single digits.
“We needed a win, I needed a win, they needed a win for sure,” McCullough said. “It gives us a chance to get a little bit of momentum going into Christmas break. We can now end this gauntlet of games with a winning record. I don’t care if it takes 10 overtimes, a win is a win and it is so important for a lot of different things.”
Senior Isaac Bones made the first huge play as the seconds winded down in regulation. West’s Dylan Wolf was sent to the foul line with 25 seconds left and the Chargers up 38-36. He hit one of two free throws to extend the lead to three. On the ensuing possession, Bones nailed a three-pointer from the left wing with nine seconds left. He then forced West’s Korbin Kido to lose control of the ball on the final possession of regulation and the Chargers never got off a final shot.
The three overtime periods featured six lead changes and five ties with neither team leading by more than three points until the Cyclones broke away. Aidan Michel scored a basket-and-one with 3:05 left in the third overtime to put OHS up 54-51. Marque Wilkerson was called for an offensive foul on West’s next possession, sending Jayson Brown to the line with 1:42 left. He hit one of two shots to extend the Cyclone lead to four. West’s Elijah Brooks misfired from three and Cade Gollier was there for the board. Ottawa freshman Noah McCullough was fouled with 1:05 left and hit one of two free throws to make it 56-51 Ottawa. The Chargers’ final basket came with 19 seconds left to make it 60-53, which it where the score stood at the final buzzer.
Three players finished with double figure scoring for the Cyclones. Brown led all scorers with 17 points. Kobe Johnson, junior, had 13 points and Michel finished with 11. West was led by Brooks who scored 12 points.
Ottawa (60) — Brown 17, Johnson 13, Michel 11, Gollier 9, McCullough 6, Bones 4.
Topeka West (53) — Brooks 12, Durall 11, Kido 10, Alexander 9, McDaniel 5, Wolf 4, Wilkerson 2.