Eighteen lead changes. Ten ties. Twenty made 3-pointers. All embellished by overtime.
It was hard to complain about the excitement and entertainment value in Saturday's 11th Region boys' basketball battle between Great Crossing and Madison Southern.
Harder still for the Warhawks to swallow the result. They would love to have a fistful of possessions back from the fourth and fifth periods of an 85-81 loss.
“It was a nice, entertaining game to pick up late that will hopefully make us better,” GC coach Steve Page said. “Nobody likes losing, but at the end of the day I felt like we did some really good things."
Neither team led by more than seven points all afternoon. Madison Southern (6-7) scored the last five in regulation to tie it at 72, then finished with a 9-3 flourish in OT.
Trent DeVries, a senior who transferred from Illinois when it appeared that his home state might not play basketball this winter due to COVID-19, scored 19 of his game-high 35 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
In OT, DeVries twice restored the Eagles' lead after go-ahead and tying 3-pointers by Great Crossing freshman Junius Burrell.
Carson Walls' floater for the tie was off the mark with five seconds remaining. Southern snagged the rebound, and DeVries slammed the door with a pair of free throws.
“First two weeks of the season, that's a game we lose by 20,” Page said. “They just moved the ball and shot the ball so well. Madison Southern has played in a lot of four and five-point games. They've played everybody pretty competitive. I told the kids it was going to go down to a late-game situation. We're pretty even teams.”
Burrell went 6-for-7 from 3-point range and finished with a career-high 28 points for Great Crossing. He had only five at halftime.
Madison Southern defended him well twice – a steal by Walter Smith that stymied GC's chance to win at the end of regulation, and blanket coverage on the final stop in overtime.
“He had a whale of a basketball game. I think he made two threes in overtime,” Page said. “That last play, coming off a high ball screen, I just told him, 'Go win the game.' They were having trouble guarding him in there. I know Carson feels terrible, but we kind of got the ball where we wanted it to go.”
Walls and Kalib Perry each added 13 points for Great Crossing. Vince Dawson tallied 12. Tye Schureman dished out a team-high six assists.
Two baskets by Perry were GC's only field goals of the fourth quarter after a corner three by Walls put the Warhawks in front, 64-58, with just over five minutes to play in regulation.
“We were up six there,” Page said. “I called timeout, drew something up on the board that did not work, and then I think we had two turnovers.”
Madison Southern, which went 8-for-15 from 3-point range in the first half, went without one after intermission until DeVries' bomb made it 68-67 with 2:58 to go.
After two Burrell free throws and a Perry put-back, Jay Rose (18 points) and Brett Erslan (10) had key inside baskets down the stretch for the Eagles.
“We just gave up too many run-out buckets, a couple times not rotating back,” Page said. “I thought at one point we got passive with the basketball and didn't look to score.”
DeVries, Rose and Zach Hudson each hit pair of threes in the second quarter, rallying Madison Southern from a 19-14 deficit after eight minutes to a 42-40 halftime edge.
Burrell and Dawson combined for six tying or go-ahead buckets in the third period, when Burrell scored a baker's dozen.
GC travels to Frankfort (Monday) and hosts Western Hills (Wednesday) with a chance to clinch the 41st District regular-season title.
“All we can do now is learn from that and go into Monday night, because as much as we wanted to win this one, that one's a more important game for us,” Page said.