Lions win OT thriller 40-39 at Prairie Grove

Randy Moll/Westside Eagle Observer
Gravette's Gunnar Woolard shoots over Gentry defenders during the game between Gentry and Gravette in Lions Den Arena on Jan. 26.
Randy Moll/Westside Eagle Observer Gravette's Gunnar Woolard shoots over Gentry defenders during the game between Gentry and Gravette in Lions Den Arena on Jan. 26.

PRAIRIE GROVE -- In a controversial ending, Gravette stole a 40-39 overtime win, spoiling senior night for Prairie Grove at Tiger Arena in 4A-1 boys basketball action Friday.

Sam DeWitt's 3-pointer with 57 seconds left in overtime just beat the shot clock after Holden Betz appeared to carry the ball.

The play was set up by Gunnar Woolard's offensive rebound on the baseline after Jace King missed a three from the right corner. Woolard hustled in from the opposite corner to claim the airball. The shot clock didn't reset as Woolard cleared the ball to DeWitt at the top of the key. He handed it to Betz, who took two left-handed dribbles before awkwardly trying to execute a crossover move and pull the defense to him. No travel was called as the ball transferred to his right hand.

There was no whistle, so Betz pivoted and fired a pass to DeWitt, open on the left wing. DeWitt's triple rang true, breaking a 35-35 tie.

There was more controversy.

With 37.1 seconds showing in overtime, King undercut Prairie Grove's Jace Edwards, sending him sprawling face down on the hardwood. Instead of a foul, which would have resulted in free throws, the Tigers inbounded from the side. Nearly 12 seconds elapsed from the game clock before the aggressive King finally got whistled for a foul, sending Cole McGarrah to the free-throw line. The sophomore, who scored a game-high 26 points, made both, slicing Gravette's lead to 38-37.

Blake Coughran nearly came away with a steal for the Tigers in the backcourt. Had he been able to control the ball, he would have had a path to the basket with only one Lion in position to defend. Instead, the ball was batted out of bounds, and the Lions played it in.

Prairie Grove deflected the pass and Edwards got the steal the Tigers needed. He immediately dumped the ball in to Cole Edmiston with his back to the basket on the low left block. With defenders surrounding him, Cole Edmiston passed to Alex Martinez racing down the lane. Martinez' shot wouldn't go down and the Lions ripped the rebound away from him.

A foul stopped the clock with 10.9 seconds remaining and Edwards exited with his fifth personal.

Betz made both free throws to give Gravette a 40-37 lead.

Rather than repeat an end of regulation scenario and risk a potential game-tying 3-point shot, the Lions fouled McGarrah, who swished a long three after the whistle. The basket was disallowed, much to the Lions' relief.

McGarrah converted both foul shots to make it 40-39 with 7.4 seconds to go.

Prairie Grove fouled King, halting the clock with 6.6 seconds left. King's first free throw rolled out, and his second went off the back iron. Cole Edmiston rebounded for Prairie Grove, but Woolard stole his outlet pass, and time expired, with the Lions grabbing a 40-39 win.

DeWitt finished with 9 points and Kyle Murphy added 8 for Gravette.

Prairie Grove sleepwalked offensively through the first three-and-a-half quarters, managing a mere 14 points over the first 28:16 of the game. After an 8-8 first-quarter tie, Gravette led 17-10 at halftime and 25-14 at the end of the third quarter.

The Tigers came to life and roared back into the game with a 16-2 run over the final 3:43 of regulation.

McGarrah's triple from downtown ignited the surge after Prairie Grove missed its first 16 tries beyond the arc. The Tigers scored four points in eight seconds, aided by a technical foul. McGarrah made the free throws, and Martinez scored on the offensive glass. McGarrah had a steal and snapped back-to-back floaters, the second of which accounted for 11 Tiger points over a 1:47 span.

He got a defensive rebound, brought the ball down, looked for his shot, and connected again to pull Prairie Grove within 28-27 with just over half a minute to play in regulation.

Gravette hit 2 of 4 free throws, but its 3-point cushion wasn't enough. The Lions had a foul to give and forced Prairie Grove to inbound in front of its own bench with 6.8 seconds remaining. McGarrah triggered the inbounds pass, got the ball right back and took two dribbles, then squared up from the right corner and drilled a game-tying trifecta to send the game into overtime tied at 30-30.

Gravette 40, Prairie Grove 39 (Overtime)

Gravette^8^9^8^5^10^--^40

Prairie Grove^8^2^4^16^9^--^39

Prairie Grove (6-13, 1-6 4A-1): Cole McGarrah 7 10-10 26, Cole Edmiston 2 0-2 4, Alex Martinez 2 0-0 4, Jace Edwards 1 0-0 3, Blake Coughran 1, 0-0 2. Totals 13 10-12 39.

Gravette (): Sam DeWitt 3 2-2 9, Kyle Murphy 3 2-2 8, Holden Betz 1 3-4 6, Kais Patton 3 0-0 6, Jace King 2 1-3 5, Peyton Meyer 2 0-0 4, Gunnar Woolard 0 2-4 2. Totals 14 10-15 40.

3-Point Goals -- Prairie Grove 3 (McGarrah 2, Edwards). Gravette 2 (Betz, Dewitt).

photo Randy Moll/Westside Eagle Observer Gravette senior Jace Sandoval attempts a shot under the basket during Friday's game between Gentry and Gravette at Lions Den Arena.