Shadyside falls in OT to Cambridge
CAMBRIDGE — Shadyside knew when it agreed to play Cambridge for the first time since the mid-1950s that it was facing a stern test.
It was a test the Tigers had several opportunities to pass, but in the end, Cambridge’s size and experience on the frontline proved to be just enough to fend off Shadyside, 63-61 in overtime.
“We battled and played a heck of a second half, but we just came up a little short,” Tiger head coach Ed Andes said. “These types of games make you better. I feel like we got better (Friday).”
The Tigers found themselves down nine at halftime after Bobcats senior Dom Cork — who will play at Wittenburg next season — got going in the second with 11 points.
Things looked even more bleak for the Belmont County bunch early in the third. Not only did Shadyside find itself down, 40-27, but it watched as leading scorer Korey Beckett — who scored 10 points in the first half — writhed in pain on the floor for several moments after injuring his ankle.
With Beckett out of the lineup and the Bobcats surging, it looked like Shadyside’s deficit would only grow larger.
That was by no means the case. The scrappy Tigers proceeded to score 10 of the next 12 and a Mason Vannest trey just before the buzzer made it a 44-40 Cambridge lead.
With Vannest and junior forward Elijah Brock doing a bulk of the work in the fourth, the Tigers took their first lead of the game with five minutes to go on a Jacob Visnic bonus goal.
Senior Brock Valentine eventually tied the game at 56 when he cashed in two at the foul line. Vannest, who was relentless in the fourth quarter, got two more going to the bucket to put the Tigers back on top.
“We made some shots, which is always huge,” Andes said. “When you make shots, it just allows everything to look better because even your defense gets better.”
However, running its offense through Cork on the interior, he found senior Sean Perkins with a nifty pass as a double team approached for an easy chance inside to knot the game.
Cambridge’s final offensive chance in regulation ended with a turnover and Shadyside had a shot — off an inbound play — turned away by Cork to send the game to the extra session.
In the extra session, Shadyside actually struck first when Vannest, who pumped in 15 points in the game, connected on his third bonus goal.
The Bobcats were unfazed. Cork sank two at the line and Shadyside, which played only five players after Beckett departed, struggled to find room to operate. Cambridge bottled up Brock, who led the Orange with 21, and they committed two turnovers.
Meanwhile, Valentine — a rugged 6-5 forward — bullied his way to the basket to put the hosts on top and Perkins capped the scoring by getting one-of-two at the line.
Shadyside had a shot come up short and as Cambridge tried to save the ball, it threw it entirely to the other end of the floor. By the time the ball made its way out of bounds, just 2.4 seconds showed.
The Tigers’ last-ditch effort failed to produce a shot, setting off a wild Bobcat celebration.
“We had chances in the overtime and I just can’t fault the effort,” Andes said. “We won an overtime game (against Barnesville) last week and we lost one earlier in the season, so maybe the next one will go our way.”
Andes wouldn’t speculate on Beckett’s injury, but is hopeful for good news as the Tigers begin the Division IV tournament Tuesday at River.
“I have my fingers crossed (for good news),” Andes said about Beckett’s injury. “I am just hoping it’s not that bad. Obviously, it’s a quick turnaround, so we’ll have to see. We’re hoping he’ll be able to play.”