A landmark regular season ended on a sour note for the Warren East boys’ basketball team.
The Raiders let a seven-point fourth-quarter lead slip Thursday and fell 62-58 to Monroe County in overtime on Senior Night at WEHS.
The game served as a final tuneup before both teams play in their district tournaments next week. It came down to a gritty Falcon defense and some uncharacteristic Raider miscues.
“It was a typical February game,” WEHS coach Casey Simpson said. “Both teams are gearing up for the tournament. … We would’ve liked to win on Senior Night for our seniors, but we did some things down the stretch we don’t normally do.”
WEHS (21-7) trailed for most of the first half before taking the lead in the third quarter and appearing to have the game under control in the fourth.
When Aron Strange converted a three-point play with 5:09 to play, the Raiders had their largest lead of the game at 50-43.
But things started to come unglued for WEHS, and MCHS (16-10) took advantage.
The Falcons’ Chad Wilson hit a layup and then converted a three-point play to cut the lead to two with 4:02 to play.
One minute later, as Simpson was calling a timeout, the Raiders’ Timothy Stockton was assessed a technical for shoving an MCHS player.
Wilson hit both free throws to tie the game at 50.
Simpson declined comment after the game on the technical call. WEHS senior J.J. Chatman, who led the Raiders in scoring last night with 17, said the technical was a factor in how the game played out.
“I don’t know what happened (on the call) but it was a big turning point because they knocked down those free throws and tied it up,” Chatman said.
WEHS got the lead back on a Jaylin Barnett layup with 2:13 to go, and was holding the ball in the final minute with a chance to hold on for the win.
But Skyler Geralds stole the ball and ran out for a layup to tie the game at 52, forcing overtime.
“Our defense has been the whole key for us this year,” MCHS coach Steven Kirkpatrick said. “We feed off our defense.”
The teams traded buckets in overtime before Dillon Geralds drove the lane and hit a shot putting the Falcons up 58-56 with 54 seconds to play.
WEHS got Chase Bryant an open 3-point shot on the ensuing possession, but his attempt went off the iron.
Dillon Geralds and Wilson then hit two free throws apiece to preserve the 62-58 comeback win. Wilson, an MCHS football star and the younger brother of Western Kentucky wide receiver Neil Wilson, hit all 10 of his free-throw attempts last night and finished with a game-high 24 points.
“He knows what it’s about, that part of sports,” Kirkpatrick said of Wilson. “He’s not the most talented on the basketball court but he uses his strengths to the best of his ability.”
While the Falcons’ star took over late, the Raiders’ top scorer was quiet in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Chatman hit his third 3-pointer of the third quarter with four minutes left to put WEHS up 39-37. Seconds later he picked up a third foul and had to sit out the rest of the quarter. He didn’t score again.
Both teams now turn their focus to the postseason. MCHS will face Allen County-Scottsville, which the Falcons beat twice during the regular season, at 7:45 p.m. Monday at Barren County in the first round of the District 15 Tournament.
WEHS, which drew a No. 1 seed in the District 14 Tournament, will play the winner of Greenwood-South Warren at 7 p.m. Wednesday at GHS.
“That’s one thing we really preached a lot when we got to Warren East – surviving and being successful in the postseason,” Simpson said. “We’re going to make sure we’ve got fresh legs and we’re all on the same page. … If we’re playing Warren East basketball, we’ll be happy with the result.”
MCHS 15 15 11 11 10 — 62
WEHS 11 17 14 10 6 — 58
MCHS — Wilson 24, S. Geralds 7, Di. Geralds 18, De. Geralds 8, Graves 5
WEHS — Barnett 6, Wheeler 9, Strange 11, Chatman 17, Brown 3, Bryant 9, Whitney 3
Lady Falcons roll Lady Raiders
Madison Clements scored a game-high 16 points as Monroe County’s girls took care of business in a 60-31 victory over Warren East at WEHS.
MCHS (21-5) led the game 23-3 after the first quarter and forced a running clock early in the third quarter.
Erin Houchins led WEHS (4-25) with eight points.
The Lady Falcons will meet Glasgow at Barren County in the first round of the District 15 Tournament on Tuesday. The Lady Raiders will meet Greenwood at GHS in the first round of the 14th District 14 Tournament at 6 p.m. Monday.
MCHS 23 21 11 5 — 60
WEHS 3 9 4 15 — 31
MCHS — Clements 16, Harlin 5, Murray 7, Kirkpatrick 14, L. Turner 5, Polston 2, R. Turner 2, Stephens 2, Cloyd 3, Wilson 2, Ethridge 2
WEHS — Houchins 8, Bibb 5, Ju. Martin, 5, Duncan 5, Renfro 3, Young 3, Romine 2