Bartlett overcame a lot in its game with Dobyns Bennett High on Friday, tying the contest with a Jr Jacobs 3-pointer with 6 seconds left to send it to overtime.
But senior forward Malachi Hale hit a jump shot with 2 seconds remaining in overtime and the Indians won a thriller for them, a heart-breaker for the Panthers, 70-69.
Bartlett (34-7) overcame torrid shooting by the Indians for three quarters of the BlueCross Boys Basketball Championships semifinal game, and their own futility to make 3-pointers.
The Panthers were 0-for-14 from behind the arc until senior guard Amarr Knox finally made one with 5:43 left in the game. At the same time, the Indians had made 8-of-11 3-pointers (73 percent), a 24-point swing in their favor.
Indians junior guard Jonavan Gillespie only missed one shot the entire game. He was 9-for-10 from the field, including 5-for-5 from 3-point range, and made all four of his free throws. Gillespie added five rebounds and two assists.
Dobyns Bennett (33-6) used an 8-0 run early to take a 22-14 lead at the end of the first quarter, with Gillespie scoring 12 of those points. The Indians then scored 7 unanswered to start the second period, building its biggest lead of the game, 29-14.
Bartlett was able to cut into that lead by halftime, in spite of missing one 3-pointer after another.
Dobyns Bennett led 37-32 at the break, shooting 60 percent from the field to Bartlett’s 40.7 percent. Knox had 14 points for the Panthers at the break, but would pour it on the second half to lead all scorers with 33 points.
In the third period, Hale hit a 3-pointer – his only other basket besides the game winner – with 2:30 remaining to give the Indians an 11-point advantage, 49-38. But Bartlett would answer.
Three consecutive layups and a free throw by Knox made it 49-45 at the end of three quarters.
In the final quarter, Knox finally hit the Panthers’ first 3-pointer to bring Bartlett within one, 51-50. Then Jacobs hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 53.
Bartlett finally took the lead, 58-57, with 1:41 left in the game on a Jacobs layup. Indians senior Jack Browder made it 58-57 Indians on a jump shot with only 44 seconds left.
The 6-foot, 4-inch Browder had been playing with four fouls since late in the third quarter. Knox picked up his fourth foul with 2:20 left in regulation.
Following a series of turnovers by both teams, Gillespie was fouled and hit two free throws to give the Indians a 61-58 lead and Bartlett Head Coach Dion Real called a time out with 12 seconds left. With 6 seconds to go, Jacobs hit a clutch 3-pointer to send the game into overtime.
The 4-minute overtime period started well for Bartlett, with Jacobs hitting a jump shot and then a layup to give the Panthers a 65-61 lead. The Indians went back on top 66-65 on a 3-pointer by junior Brady Stump and a layup by Carter Metz.
Then Knox scored, then Gillespie scored, then Knox scored again to make it 69-68 Bartlett with just 14 seconds left.
After a time out, it wasn’t Gillespie but 6-foot, 4-inch Hale who made the winning basket with 2 seconds on the clock.
Jacobs finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
The teams had 26 rebounds each. Bartlett turned it over 13 times and forced 17 turnovers by the Indians, who defeated Bearden (31-7) Saturday, March 19, to win the Division I 4A state title.