Lower Richland’s Carlos Nuttry converted a Keenan turnover into a game-winning layup with 11.3 seconds left in overtime on Saturday as the Diamond Hornets beat their district rival, 74-73.
“It felt great,” Nuttry said. “I love my teammates. They put me in a great position and, after that, they made sure it counted.”
Lower Richland held off Keenan in the final seconds, forcing a turnover as time expired.
“We just made some mistakes in the end and it seemed like we didn’t want it as much anymore,” Raiders coach Zach Norris said.
Lower Richalnd coach Willie Thomas said of Nuttry: “This was his best game and I know it was important to him.” Nuttry had five of the seven Lower Richland overtime points. He scored 11 overall.
Jared Richardson led Lower Richland with 21 points, while Brandon Stroman, a defensive leader, scored 18 points.
Keenan had four players in double-digits, led by Antwan Holmes’ 18 points, as the Raiders scored easily and often early in the game.
“They just wanted it a little more in the first half,” Thomas said of Keenan.
He said his team showed flashes of the kind of heart and desire required as Lower Richland battled back from its 41-26 halftime deficit.
Keenan led by 15 after halftime, but Norris tried to warn his team off over-confidence.
“I told them the game wasn’t over, and that Lower Richland was going to keep fighting,” Norris said.
Norris said his team has squandered some big leads recently, and was trying to avoid this kind of result.
The Raiders went up by 18 early in the third quarter.
Then, a two-minute Lower Richland run chopped the Raiders’ lead in half, with Stroman ratcheting up the defensive effort against a Keenan squad that was driving the lane at will.
Richardson and Stroman kicked the rally into high gear in the last four minutes of regulation. Stroman posted seven points and, with 1:43 to go, Timothy Myers’ putback erased the deficit, knotting the score at 63.
The score was 67-67 at the start of the extra session.
In overtime, Nuttry gave the Diamond Hornets their first lead, 70-69, with a 3-point shot. Sam Harmon answered for Keenan; then Richardson put up another Lower Richland bucket.
With 1:05 left, Holmes scored a basket to put Keenan ahead 73-72. The Raiders made three turnovers in their final four possessions.