Senior Duran Richards carried Red Cloud throughout regulation against Douglas.
But it was a freshman that put the Crusaders on his back in overtime, and earned some admiration from his upperclassmen teammates along the way.
Kobe O’Rourke scored the first eight Crusader points of the extra period to take the lead from the Patriots, and Red Cloud wore Douglas down late to earn a rousing 82-76 overtime victory Tuesday night at Douglas.
“He’s a freshman, but he doesn’t look like a freshman, and he doesn’t play like a freshman,” Red Cloud head coach Christian McGhee said. “He came up big for us tonight. He’s a hard worker, he’s got all ‘A’s’ in the classroom. He’s just one of those kids you love to have on your team.”
Tied 70-all at the end of regulation, Douglas got baskets from Matt Vinson and Kenyada Lattimore Jr. to go up 74-70 before O’Rourke went to work.
The freshman forward scored in close, and had back-to-back drives off nifty crossovers that resulted in easy layups to give the 'Saders a 76-74 with over a minute left.
Following a Douglas miss, Richards found O’Rourke in transition to give Red Cloud a four-point lead. With 44 seconds remaining, Vinson hit two free throws. Red Cloud was fouled, hit the first free throw and missed the second, but Falcon Albers grabbed the offensive board. After being fouled, Richards made both free throws to go up 81-76 with just seconds left.
“His teammates were happy for him, that was probably the best thing to see,” McGhee said of O’Rourke. “He’s our only freshman on the team, so he has to do all the little things like carrying the balls and everything, and he got some respect tonight.”
Richards, who was unstoppable most of the game, scored 17 points in the first half en route to a 26-point game, and added 10 rebounds. O’Rourke had 23 points and 14 rebounds, and Albers chipped in 14 points and 12 boards as Red Cloud (5-2 overall) won the rebounding battle 52-37.
Vinson, who willed Douglas back in the second half either by distributing the ball or scoring himself, finished with 21 points and nine rebounds. Lattimore added 17 points and Caleb Diggs and Austin Shaffer notched 10 points apiece for Douglas (2-7 overall), which trailed by 12 late in the second half before storming back.
“I was proud of my kids for not folding it in and battling back,” Douglas head coach Travis Miller said. “If we would have played the first half the way we played in the second half, I think things would have been a little bit different. But give Red Cloud all the credit. They have some really good players, and we couldn’t stop Richards.”
Douglas scored the last six points of the third quarter to cut the lead to 54-48 heading into the fourth. After Red Cloud went up 62-57 midway through the fourth, a trey from Diggs and Aaron Murphy’s layup off a Vinson dish tied it at 62-all.
With the score knotted at 64-all, O’Rourke’s three-point play gave his team a 67-64 lead with 1:50 to go. Down five, the Patriots scored four consecutive points and forced a turnover with 40 seconds remaining. Vinson put back his own miss, giving Douglas a 70-69 lead, it’s first since the opening quarter. Red Cloud made one of two free throws to tie it 70-all, and with the clock winding down, Lattimore’s miss from long range sent the game into overtime.
Next up for Douglas is a home game this Friday against Belle Fourche, while Red Cloud travels to Kyle to play Little Wound on Thursday night.