It took three quarters for O’Fallon to dig out an 11-point hole and double overtime for them to finally put away the Cahokia Comanches in the first round of the 74th Centralia Holiday Tournament Wednesday.
O’Fallon senior Jarvus Smith scored under the basket with 17 seconds left in the second overtime period to give the Panthers a 64-62 victory.
“It seems like in these morning games, one team comes out faster than the other, and it was Cahokia this time,” said O’Fallon first-year coach Brian Muniz. “But our guys took the hit, and when I told them to slow down and play their game, they did.”
O’Fallon (6-3) advances to a winner’s bracket game with undefeated Chicago-Marist (13-0) Thursday at 12:30 p.m.
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Offensively, the Comanches worked in fits and starts with four rallies of seven-or-more points during regulation, including the 13-2 run that had O’Fallon playing catch-up from the beginning.
Thomas Bell and Malik Johnson each had double-doubles and Jakorey Davis scored a game-high 18 points, but Cahokia fell to 5-5 on the season and to a tournament losers’ bracket game against Jacksonville (5-5) at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
Cahokia shot just 38 percent from the field, including 2-for-17 from 3-point range.
“We really wanted to expose the height advantage, but we went away from that,” said Cahokia coach Darian Nash. “I think we scored six points in the second quarter and shot four or five 3s, which is unacceptable because of the height difference.
“We thought we could penetrate and make them foul. We did that for the first five minutes and then the guys went out on their own agenda.”
Three players scored in double figures for O’Fallon, including Ronnie Anthony’s team-high 17. Jalen Hodge scored 16 and Burke Watts had 12 to go with six rebounds.
O’Fallon changed early to a zone defense to put the brakes on Cahokia and managed its first lead of the game, 30-28, by the end of the third quarter.
The lead changed hands seven times in the fourth period before regulation ended in a 48-48 tie. Watts had the chance to win the game for O’Fallon, but missed a pair of free throws with .7 seconds left.
Jakorey Davis likewise could have won the game for Cahokia in the first overtime, but missed a layup at the buzzer.
O’Fallon shot 36 percent and made just 4-of-16 three-point shots in the game. The two teams also combined for 33 total turnovers.
“Offensively, it was a pretty ugly game for the most part. It was just a battle for most of the game,” Muniz said. “We did a good job the last couple of trips getting inside, shot faking and getting some fouls. That was key for us.”
Anthony started the second overtime for O’Fallon with a pair of jump shots and a free throw, but Deavis Johnson and Davis each converted turnovers into layups to put Cahokia on top 62-61 with less than a minute left.
Smith scored the game-winner with a pass from Hodge and a double-pump on the Cahokia defender. Watts made it a two-point win with a free throw.
Bell finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Johnson had 13 points and 10 boards, but both fouled out of the game before the second overtime.
Smith led O’Fallon with eight rebounds to go with his five points.