By Dennis Atwood - firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Most of the game was dead even, but Warren County took over in overtime on Saturday.
The Wildcats used clutch foul shooting to pull away with a 70-62 non-district boys basketball overtime win over Central.
Warren County's Logan Hibbs and Central's Seth Bauserman, both seniors, shared game-high scoring honors, racking up 27 points each.
The Wildcats outscored the Falcons, 12-4, including 8-for-8 in their last four trips to the charity stripe, in the overtime.
Warren County got a late start to its season, as the football team went deep into the post-season. Hibbs, Damien Caison, and Matt Nicholson were on the football squad that lost the Region II, Divison 3, final to Handley.
The Falcons topped the Wildcats 66-52 on Tuesday night, but things were much different on Saturday.
"We were more patient tonight," Hibbs said. "We ran through our offenses more fluidly than [on Tuesday].
"When we run through our offenses completely, it helps us get open shots and better shots. We want to pass up good looks for great looks now. We've been struggling shooting here lately and we needed to get going tonight. And that's what we did to help us win."
The Wildcats (1-2) gained their largest lead of the night, 48-37, with 5:56 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Then Central (3-2) used an effective trapping press to outscore the Wildcats 17-6 over the next four minutes.
"We have emphasized patience and running through our sets," Warren County coach Vernon Mathews said. "We're not there yet. We're still hurrying a little bit.
"We were up by 10 and when they started pressuring us we did a poor job handling it and gave up some easy baskets. We let them get back in the game, then we had to fight for our lives just get to overtime."
Bauserman's shot deep in the lane knotted the score at 54-54, with 1:57 remaining.
After Warren County missed a field goal, Travis Cooper nailed a three-pointer to give the Falcons a 57-54 lead with 1:18 on the clock.
Caison (11 points, 8 rebounds) was fouled while shooting with 47.3 seconds left, and sank both free throws for the Wildcats to narrow Central's lead to 57-56.
Bauserman made a free throw with 41 seconds remaining to give the Falcons a 58-56 lead, but missed a 3-point attempt with 27 seconds remaining.
"We had a game last night, so we didn't really have our legs under us to start out," Bauserman said. "We really came out lackadaisical. They got a big lead and we just kept fighting back. Time kind of ran out on us. We didn't really force as many turnovers as we normally do with the press. It just seemed like they were breaking it pretty easily."
The Wildcats negotiated Central's press, Nicholson (10 points) saw daylight from the left wing, and drove to the hoop, dumping in a layup for a 58-58 tie with 21.7 seconds remaining on the clock.
The Falcons had the last offensive possession but Matt Sherfey's shot in the lane was wide of the mark.
Nicholson continued his late game productivity, scoring the first points in the overtime, a field goal with 3:10 remaining, to put the Wildcats up 62-60.
Bauserman made a layup for Central to create a 60-60 tie at the 2:45 mark. Nicholson missed both tries on a trip to the charity stripe with 2:32 remaining.
In the last 1:32, the Wildcats were 8-for-8 on free throws, including both ends of one-and-one opportunities by Almarode (11 points), Tierney, and Hibbs.
Central managed one more field goal, as Sherfey (8 points) scored with 25.2 seconds on the clock to cut the Wildcats lead to 66-62.
Hibbs scored an offensive rebound put-back and went 4-for- 4 at the line, making his last pair with 6.2 seconds remaining.
Central called a timeout with 5 seconds left to set up the last shot, and the field goal was wide of the mark, one of six missed attempts by the Falcons in the overtime.
Hibbs collected his 27 points on 9-for-12 shooting, 6-for-7 at the charity stripe, and 1-for-5 on 3-pointers for the Wildcats.
Bauserman tallied his 27 points on 12-for-18 shooting and 3-for-6 at the free throw line.
Freshman Hayden Bauserman was 3-for-4 from 3-point range and helped keep Central within striking distance.
Central shot a sub-par 5-for-13 on the free throw line, as the Wildcats helped their cause by going 13-for-17 from the charity stripe.
"For some reason, we just got off to a slow start, but we battled back," Central coach Mickey Clinedinst said. "We tied it up and we had a shot at the buzzer [in regulation], but it just didn't go in.
"In overtime they got better looks and we got behind and had to start gambling a lot more. We put them at the free throw line, hoping they'd miss some, so we could come down and make some shots. It just didn't pan out that way."
"We're getting better. We're getting closer to the type of team I think we're capable of being," Mathews said. "We just need to keep working."