Freshman Kenyata Carbon played hero for the Red Devils Friday night, making the biggest play of the game and capping a frantic sequence of plays that lifted his team to a 56-54 overtime win over Owensboro Catholic.
Owensboro couldn’t hold on to a late lead in regulation, then lost it again with less than 30 seconds to go in overtime. Down by two, the Red Devils’ Amari Wales drove to the lane and laid in a short that left the game knotted at 54-all with 8 seconds left.
Carbon then intercepted Catholic’s inbounds pass near the top of the key and was fouled on his go-ahead shot attempt. Carbon drained both free throws with 4.2 seconds on the clock, and a last-second heave from mid-court for the Aces never had a chance.
“That was a pretty good steal from Kenyata,” said OHS head coach Rod Drake. “I think we kind of caught them off guard with our full-court pressure. It was a good basketball game.”
For more photos from the game, click here.
Catholic nearly put together an overtime run that would have sent them home with a victory, starting with a steal and layup by Gray Weaver that cut their deficit to 52-51 with 1:30 to play.
Andrew Riney hit the front end of a 1-and-1 to the the game but missed the second attempt, though a jump ball on the rebound left the Aces with possession. Ji Webb scored down low on the inbounds pass for a 54-52 lead, setting the stage for Owensboro’s wild finish.
Catholic was without point guard and leading scorer Brian Griffith — sidelined by a minor injury — but Webb and Drew Hartz helped the Aces keep pace all night.
“We’re minus Brian and everybody’s kind of thinking we’re really in trouble,” said Aces’ head coach Time Riley. “For us to fight in there and battle and give ourselves a chance was enjoyable.”
The game featured 10 lead changes — nine after halftime — and nearly as many ties. Catholic’s biggest lead came late in the second quarter at 27-24 after Luke Scales and Hartz combined for four consecutive 3-pointers.
Owensboro tied the game at 28-28 just before halftime. A 10-0 run by the Red Devils to close out third-quarter scoring left them with 42-36 advantage 42-36 heading into the final period.
OHS controlled the pace for several minutes but struggled to maintain possession with a lead — something that’s plagued the Red Devils all year. They used steady contributions from a handful of guys but were never able to put the game away.
“I thought we played well in spurts,” Drake said. “But that second half we just got comfortable. Guys started going through the motions. That’s been the last couple weeks with us. We just get the lead and we blow them. Guys get comfortable and we stop doing what we’re supposed to do and everybody gets away from the game plan.”
Hartz and Webb combined for 11 of Catholic’s 12 points in the fourth quarter. Webb threw down a pair of powerful dunks, while the highlight for Hartz was the game-tying putback with 23 seconds left.
“Drew and Ji created some issues for them defensively,” Riley said. “I thought we rebounded well. Early we turned the ball over too much, late we didn’t.”
Drake said he’ll take a district win, but the Red Devils have plenty of room to improve.
“I’m glad we won, but we’ve got a lot of work to do,” he said. “Maybe we’re playing too many people. That could be a problem. But we’ve got to get better defensively. We’ve got guys going around us. We’re doing a lot of reaching and grabbing.”
Wales led the Red Devils with 13 points, while Gavin Wimsatt added 11 and Carbon had nine. Catholic was led by Hartz with 17, and Webb had 16.
Owensboro is off until Friday when they host Muhlenberg County, while Catholic will travel to Trinity on Tuesday.
OHS (56): Amari Wales 13, Gavin Wimsatt 11, Kenyata Carbon 9, Tucker Hagan 9, Isaac Humphrey 6, Imonte Owsley 2, Reis Dickinson 2, Ethan Pendleton 2, Jaiden Greathouse 2
OCHS (54): Drew Hartz 17, Ji Webb 16, Gray Weaver 8, Andrew Riney 7, Luke Scales 6