Carson Price grabbed the ball at the top of the key. He took it to the rim and made it over two Westmoore defenders, narrowly missing the halftime buzzer. His shot put Yukon up 33-20 going into the break, but it wasn’t enough.
The Millers were facing a 3-14 Jaguars team on homecoming night and with a big lead at halftime, there seemed to be little to worry about. Halftime of the boys game saw the homecoming festivities where Price was named king and the Millerette’s Sunny Middleton took away queen.
Once the second half commenced, it all broke through.
Yukon’s 13 point lead dwindled quickly with Westmoore’s Ethan Scott going nuclear from behind the three point line. He hit five of Westmoore’s seven three pointers in the period. Scott had 38 in the game and 20 in the quarter.
Scott nailed three after three in the third and the Millers had no answer for it.
“I don’t understand what, get on his hip and stay on his hip means and then we start running around, we let him hop and fade and that’s what good shooters want to do, it’s what I wanted to do when I played,” coach Kevin Ritter said. “He gets rolling, he’s had 43 in a game this year and he’s 39 twice.
“The kid can really shoot. I’ve just got to do a better job of preparing them for it I guess.”
Perhaps it was the homecoming sidetrack that caused the third quarter collapse. Festivities were set to take place after the boy’s game, but changes were made to have it at halftime.
“It’s not great,” Ritter said. “It only affects the boys game and doesn’t affect the girls game at all. It is what it is. I’ll see if we can get it changed down the road.”
Yukon’s halftime lead turned into a Westmoore 49-43 lead heading into the fourth period. There, the game went back and forth.
Heading into the final stretch of the game, the Millers had the Jaguars where they wanted them. The ball in his hands with six seconds to go, Price got the ball and ran it the length of the floor into the painted area. He ran into Westmoore defenders and was assessed an offensive foul.
Ritter said Price ran the play according to the plan, but a missed call cost their possession.
“I told him to attack,” he said. “The guy, honestly, slapped him before. I didn’t see if he charged or not. All those kinds of situations, you usually want to attack because everybody is thinking don’t foul.
“We wanted to get him to the basket and see if he could score and he just wasn’t able to pull it off.”
The Jaguars, with nearly a second remaining, were only able to get a half court heave off, which they couldn’t connect with.
In overtime, the game played out nearly the same.
The back and forth affair continued, but luck was on Westmoore’s side late.
The Millers’ hope to get back in the lead faded with the lead at 71-68 in their opponent’s favor but a steal by Baker gave Carson Lambakis the bucket to bring the score to 71-70 with 13 seconds remaining.
Yukon fouled Westmoore, sending the Jags to the free throw line where they knocked down both. Yukon inbounded the ball to Lambakis who quickly ran down the court and threw up a three, in
efforts to tie the game.
His shot missed, Westmoore hit one more free throw to put the game away 74-70.
“We were out of timeouts so it’s kind of a go thing,” Ritter said. “We tried to call a play and they tried to over play it and weren’t going to help off the corner. He was probably going to have to shoot it anyways.
“I don’t know if it was the best shot, but he got a shot and it was short, that’s how it goes. We didn’t make enough shots to win.
Lambakis finished the night as the leading scorer for the Millers with 20 points. Carson Price delivered 18.
It was the addition of young players late in the game that caught the surprise of many.
Baker and Brayden Dutton have come on of late to provide key scoring off the bench. Down the stretch of regulation they saw important playing time. Baker scored 10, Dutton had eight, each with two threes, respectively.
“We felt like we had to find guys to score because they weren’t doing that, they weren’t going to guard people. You had to find some guys to get some shots. They were able to do that and then we were trying to go offense – defense and get single up some of our guys that are a little better on defense. Those guys can hit shots. they’ve been making a lot lately it’s just, they make enough, they miss too many free throws there late,” Ritter said.