Lumberjacks boys win double OT thriller

TUPPER LAKE – Tupper Lake’s Mitch Keniston hit a layup with one second left in overtime to tie the game, then scored seven points in the second overtime to lead his team to a 62-57 win over Madrid-Waddington Tuesday night.

With his team trailing by two points, Keniston drove hard down the right side of the court and scored two of his game-high 23 points to knot the game at 51 and send the game into a second overtime.

In double overtime, Keniston led off the scoring when he hit a layup off a crisp pass from the top of the key by guard Cody LaPierre.

Madrid-Waddington’s Richard Wright, who finished with 20 points, answered with a layup to tie the game once again. Keniston responded with a 3-pointer from the corner and followed that up with an offensive rebound that he converted for a layup to give his team a 58-53 advantage.

Unwilling to give up, Wright hit a jumper and two free throws to bring his team within one point. Nash Botala then made one of two free throws with 59 seconds left, after getting fouled on a layup set up by a Keniston feed in the paint. That made the score 59-57.

The two teams then failed to score until Brock Tarbox hit a 3-pointer with just a few seconds remaining to clinch the game for the Lumberjacks. Tarbox finished with 11 points.

“That was a really big win,” Lumberjacks coach Steve Skiff said. “They did a great job the last two trips down the floor executing – what we wanted to do – and (we got) two big baskets.”

The game was one of highs and lows right from the beginning.

Less than three minutes into the game, Madrid-Waddington lost point guard Colin O’Bryan, who appeared to dislocate his kneecap after going up for a rebound. The four-year starting point guard who was a first-team all-Northern Athletic Conference team selection last year, had to be carted off the court by emergency personnel. He laid on the floor for 45 minutes as coaches and then medical personnel attended to him. He was unable to move at all. He was eventually taken to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake in an ambulance.

After the game, Madrid-Waddington coach Aaron Jones said O’Bryan was doing better.

“They said he should be fine,” Jones said. “He’s a little sore. He should be fine. His knee slide right over, and they had to pop it back in.”

After the injury delay, Madrid-Waddington scored the next four points. But Tupper Lake bounced back to take a 18-13 lead by the end of the first quarter.

Tupper Lake led most of the game and had a 49-39 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.

Much of that was due to some excellent outside shooting by LaPierre and Anson Gagnier, who each hit two 3-pointers in the game. LaPierre finished with eight points and Gagnier had 11 points.

But despite a 10-point lead late, Tupper Lake couldn’t put the game away. The Yellow Jackets went on a 12-2 run to start the fourth quarter, finally tying it at 41 apiece with 2:36 left in regulation. They tied the game when Wright stole the ball and converted a fast-break layup.

“Our nemesis is what’s hurt us all year, and we try to work on it, cut down on the number of turnovers because that is what really allowed them to get back in the game,” Skiff said.

With 1:23 left in the fourth quarter, Gagnier hit two free throws to give his team a two-point lead, but Maurice Rease scored on a steal and a layup to send the game to overtime with the score tied at 43. Rease finished with 16 points.

In overtime, Rease hit three free throws after getting fouled on a 3-point attempt, followed by a 3-pointer from Wright. That gave Madrid-Waddington an early six-point lead, and Tupper Lake appeared to have lost all of its momentum. The six-point lead represented a swing of 16 points, going back to the start of the fourth quarter.

But Tupper proved to be resilient in overtime. Keniston scored on a baseline shot to make the score 49-45. His two-points was followed by a 3-pointer by Tarbox, bringing the Lumberjacks within one point with 1:40 left in overtime.

Shortly after that, Wright hit a layup. But then Keniston answered with a free throw to bring his team within two points to set up his game-tying shot with one second left in overtime.

“It feels good,” Keniston said. “It (was) a big battle.”

With the win, Tupper Lake improved to 6-5. Madrid-Waddington is 6-4.