Heavyweight bout: Medomak Valley guts out 4OT win over Camden HillsIn toe-to-toe battle, Panthers nip Windjammers in another classic between rivals
Rockport — Thursday night's game between the Camden Hills and Medomak Valley boys high school basketball teams mirrored that of a prize fight between two heavyweight boxers.
Both with championship aspirations, neither wanting to back down and both having their opponents on the ropes on numerous occasions.
In the end, the match, or the game, as it were, did not go 12 rounds, but it did go eight and, in the end, it went to the scorecards, or the foul line, to decide the winner.
In a game that went nearly three hours and one that saw the two teams combine for nearly 200 points, the visiting Panthers hit their free throws down the stretch and held on for a thrilling 95-91 victory over the Windjammers in an astounding four overtimes.
That means the teams played 32 minutes of regulation and 16 minutes of overtimes for 48 total minutes.
"That was one of the best basketball games I've ever been a part of as a player or as a coach," said veteran Medomak Valley coach Nick DePatsy. "It was unbelievable. We had good players fouling out, they had good players fouling out, both teams just left it all out there. It could have gone either way."
John Murray poured in 36 points and pulled down 16 rebounds to lead Medomak Valley, while Ryan Ripley netted 28 points and had 13 caroms. Ripley also hit two free throws at the end of the third overtime to tie the game and netted two more at the end of the fourth overtime to help seal the deal for the Panthers.
Also scoring for the visitors were Micah Williamson with 12 points, Brandon Soper, eight; Nicholas DePatsy, seven; Jonathan Hendrickson-Belloguet, four; and Boone Olson, two.
For Camden Hills, Connor Hart matched Murray's effort with 34 points of his own and went 18-of-26 from the charity stripe.
The six-foot senior guard did it all for the 'Jammers as the team's primary ballhandler and also was the team's top threat in the paint after teammate Colin Morse fouled out with 3:52 left in regulation.
Camden Hills also played without starter Jayson Kuhn, who was sidelined with a knee injury.
"When [Colin] went out I knew [I'd have to step up]," said Connor Hart. "And with Jayson out also, Jayson and Colin are two of our top scorers. I just knew I'd have to step up to keep us in the game. I did the best that I could."
Veteran Windjammer coach Jeff Hart said Connor Hart played "incredible" in Thursday's game, while adding he "lost his legs a little bit late and missed a couple free throws" in the final overtime.
"This one hurts," said coach Hart of the tough-luck loss. "It definitely hurts."
"It was up there for us," the Windjammer coach said. "It's all kind of a blur now, but I know twice we were up by four [points] with less than 30 seconds to go and didn't finish. We gave them some easy baskets that's hard to figure out how they happened. Both teams had chances, both teams made some big plays and both teams did some things that cost them chances to win."
Morse netted 22 points for the hosts, while Chandler Crans added 19; Terron Bailey, eight; Alex Crans and Joe Chamberlain, both three; and Connor Graffam, two.
The game saw the two teams combine to take 77 foul shots and saw six players foul out. Murray, Hendrickson-Belloguet and Kazu Tibbetts fouled out for the visitors, while Morse, Graffam and Alex Crans all fouled out for the hosts.
Medomak Valley netted 29-of-41 (71 percent) free throws on the night, while Camden Hills converted 24-of-36 (67 percent).
The Panthers jumped to a 20-5 lead after the first quarter and led 31-26 at halftime.
After that, the two teams were tied at the end of three quarters (41-41), at the end of regulation (58-58), at the end of the first overtime (70-70), at the end of the second overtime (79-79) and the end of the third overtime (87-87).
"We were up 20-5 early and I told the kids, 'They're going to come back,' " said coach DePatsy. "We've got to try to stop their runs, and we didn't. We couldn't do it and that's a credit to them. We have a hard time matching up with them. Hopefully we don't see them the rest of the year."
The Windjammers held a 58-54 lead near the end of regulation when Ripley scored on an offensive putback, but missed completing the three-point play at the foul line.
That turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the Panthers as Murray snuck in front of a Windjammer defender and got the putback to tie the game with 5.8 seconds left to make it 58-58.
Camden Hills returned the favor at the end of the first overtime with Medomak Valley up by two points with 4.6 second remaining.
Connor Hart received the ball off an inbounds play in front of the Panther bench and went the length of the floor for the layup to tie the game at the buzzer.
"I thought time was going to run out on that," said Connor Hart. "Luckily I made it in time."
The two teams continued to battle through the second overtime as Camden Hills held a 78-74 lead before Williamson went baseline and found Ripley open underneath for a quick hoop, followed by Hart netting 1-of-2 at the foul line on the ensuing Windjammer possession, to put the hosts ahead 79-76.
The Panthers then moved the ball down the floor and the ball ended up in the hands of freshman Nicholas DePatsy, who banked in an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the Panther faithful into a frenzy and knot the game 79-79.
"He put me in and he told me he wanted me to shoot the ball," said Nicholas DePatsy of his father and coach. "I came around on an assist from Micah Williamson and I just shot it and it went in."
"We weren't even looking to shoot that," said coach DePatsy of his son's game-tying trey. "We were looking for a quick hoop and to get a foul and we were going to worry about the [3-pointer] on the next possession.
"Did he call the bank? I have no idea. I don't care. It was unbelievable," said coach DePatsy of his son's shot.
"After," the younger DePatsy said with a smile on his face. "After I made it."
Murray, after netting a hoop to bring the Panthers within one point at 86-85, fouled out with 21.4 remaining in the third overtime.
Hart hit 1-of-2 at the foul line, but Ripley, the Panthers' lone remaining interior player, calmly netted two more free throws to send the game to what proved its final overtime.
Then Ripley, again, with 10.8 seconds left, swished two more from the charity stripe to put the Panthers ahead 94-91 after Chamberlain had cut Camden Hills' deficit to one point on a 3-pointer with 12.2 seconds remaining.
"[Coach] told me, 'It's up to you now,' " said Ripley. "We lost John and we work great together. To put a lot of pressure on me was hard, but I knew I had my teammates behind me and my family [too]. It was great."
Camden Hills had a chance to tie the game yet again with time winding down in the fourth OT, but Chandler Crans was tied up by Soper, who came up with the ball and hit a late free throw to put the game out of reach for the hosts.
"It was a good win for us coming in here," said coach DePatsy. "I wouldn't want to be the team that plays [Camden Hills] next I'll tell you that.
While admitting the loss is "a little tough to swallow," Connor Hart said his team will be ready to host Mount View of Thorndike Saturday, Feb. 2 and ready to move on from Thursday's unforgettable game.
"We'll get over it," Connor Hart said. "Go to school tomorrow, get to practice, work hard and get ready for Mount View Saturday. No looking back. We've just got to look forward and work at getting a home prelim [playoff game] if we can."
Courier Publications Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.