SWEET HOME — Both teams walked off the court disappointed Tuesday night.
Philomath watched a big lead fade and then disappear, again. Sweet Home was wondering what could have been had it not dug a huge hole in the first two quarters.
The visiting Warriors led by 26 at halftime and 20 after three quarters but still had to make plays in an extra period to get past Sweet Home for a 71-63 overtime win in the Oregon West Conference boys basketball game.
“Very frustrated. This is a reoccurring thing that happens. We get up and we always let the team come back for some reason,” Philomath senior Ethan Manning said. “We always play down to their level. We need to work on playing through the whole game.”
Sweet Home (11-3, 0-2 OWC) scored 36 points in the fourth quarter after managing just 26 in the first three combined.
Huskies reserve Cade Gaskey had eight points, including two 3-pointers, in a 13-0 run that closed the gap to eight with 5:26 left.
Sweet Home’s defensive pressure turned the tide on Philomath (9-4, 1-1), which had nine turnovers in the fourth. The Warriors forced the Huskies into 12 in the first half on its way to a 38-12 halftime lead.
Casey Tow’s fourth of five 3-pointers in the game got Sweet Home within six with 1:52 left.
The Huskies got back within six with 13 seconds to go when Gaskey was fouled on a made layin. He missed the free throw, but Sweet Home got the rebound and Colton Smith hit a 3-pointer to make it a three-point game.
Philomath’s Michael Lundy missed two foul shots on the other end with 10 seconds left to give the Huskies a chance. Sweet Home got the ball to Aiden Tyler, whose 3-pointer from just to the right of the top of the key as time expired send the game to overtime.
“I thought we had a lot of energy in the fourth quarter. Obviously when you made shots it makes it easier to have energy,” Huskies coach Drew Emmert said. “We can score in a hurry if we’re playing together, scoring, pressing. “We definitely we’re perfect in the second half but as least we were going hard when we were making our mistakes.”
Philomath turned up its defensive in the four-minute extra period, and it paid dividends immediately. Toby Stueve, playing at the top of the Warriors’ zone defense, picked off a pass in the opening seconds and scored to put his team ahead.
Philomath struggled at the free-throw line in the overtime, as both teams did throughout the contest, but the Warriors’ smothering defense held the Huskies to just one point after Tyler’s game-tying 3-pointer.
Philomath was 5 of 12 at the line in overtime and 22 of 43 for the game. Sweet Home was 12 of 28.
Warriors coach Blake Ecker is still trying to put his finger on the answer for losing double-digit leads.
“We’ve done that all season long. We’ll get up 10, 15 points and let everybody back in,” he said. “I don’t know why we do this. A glutton for punishment, I guess.
“I think they just got tight, they get that way, and our leadership wasn’t as good as it can be at times.”
Philomath, led by Lundy’s 24 points and Ethan Manning’s 23, was without three players due to injuries and had only seven players available.
Stueve and Calvin Snuggerud added eight points apiece for the Warriors.
Tow had 15, Gaskey 12 and Jake Swanson 10 for Sweet Home.
Emmert said the first half was as poorly as his team has played this season.
Sweet Home had 22 turnovers for the game and Philomath finished with 23 after committing 16 in the second half and overtime.
“The thing is when we have turnovers we’re forcing more,” Emmert said. “We’ve forced a ton of turnovers on the year with our press. We were turning it over and then we were never getting back, so we didn’t have chances to force turnovers ourselves because they were scoring. If you can’t score you can’t press.”
Philomath scored 15 straight points after Tow opened the game with a 3-pointer. Manning hit a long two-pointer to give the Warriors a 21-8 lead after one quarter.
Philomath then used a 9-2 run in the first three minutes of the second quarter, with five Lundy points, to take total control.
Sweet Home had seven turnovers in the second quarter. The visitors scored the final six points of the period to lead 38-12 at the break.